CCD Condemns Dana Airline over ‘Increasing Human Rights Abuse Against Passengers with Disabilities’

Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, condemns in strong terms the discrimination against persons with disabilities by Dana Airline by reason of being a wheelchair users. This increasing notorious behaviour by the airline is a statement that passengers with disabilities are prohibited from using their services.

The recent experience of Dr. Chike Okogwu who on Dec. 20, 2020, 9:45pm was not allowed by the Dana airline to board their flight bound for Abuja to Lagos because he is a wheelchair user speaks volumes. The company is claiming that their policy includes not to carry a person on wheelchair during night flight. With this new policy by Dana Airline, a new pattern of discrimination against citizens with disabilities has been announced in the aviation industry in Nigeria.

We are worried that this is not the first-time passengers with disabilities are being discriminated against by airline operators, in particular Dana Airline, as a lady on wheelchair was found on a video footage being denied access to board Dana Airline few days ago at MM2 Lagos Airport.

We state categorically that this Dana Airline policy is a violation of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 which provides in section 1 that a person with disability shall not be discriminated against on the ground of his disability by any person or institution in any manner or circumstance whatsoever. This is in tandem with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which mandates states parties in article 5 to prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all. Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) including its optional protocols.

This obnoxious Dana Airline policy is also a violation of section 14 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 which provides that all airlines operating in Nigeria shall ensure the accessibility of their aircraft to persons with disabilities; make available presentable and functional wheelchair for the conveyance of persons with disabilities who need them to and from the airport; ensure that persons with disabilities are assisted to get on and off board in safety and reasonable comfort; and ensure that persons with disabilities are accorded priority while boarding and disembarking from the aircraft.

We call on the leadership of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to speedily investigate the increasing human rights violations against citizens with disabilities by airline operators in Nigeria with the view of bringing perpetrators to book. Part of the functions of the Commission include: receiving of complaints of persons with disabilities on the violation of their rights; and to promote and uplift the general social well-being of persons with disabilities by encouraging the public to change their attitude towards persons with disabilities .

We also call on the Federal Ministry of Aviation to speedily implement section 14:2 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 which provides that all airports shall be made available for the conveyance of persons with disabilities who need presentable and functional assistive and protective devices to and from the aircraft. We need #Accessible Airports, in particular mobile wheelchair lifters in all our airports across the Federation for easy access to and from aircraft, as more than 95% of the airports in Nigeria are not accessible to persons with disabilities.

We are requesting for the urgent intervention of the leadership of the National Assembly, particularly House Committee on Disability Matters; and Aviation through conduct of oversight functions on the state of access to airport for persons with disabilities in order to appreciate the level of hardship being faced by citizens with disabilities at our airports so as to make appropriate legislations to protect the rights of airport users with disabilities.

The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is the premier organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote disability rights, independent living, and social inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families in development efforts. Also, it works to educate, support and empower persons with disabilities and their families to maximize their potentials. CCD coordinated CSOs campaign that led to the passage of the National Disability Act.

Thank you.

David O. Anyaele
Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)
https://ccdnigeria.org

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