When Uzoamaka Stella Ike set out on March 8, to attend a one-week Gender-Based Violence (GBV) training and fellowship organised by the Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), she had no clue she was about to be discriminated against by Dana Air.
On arrival at Enugu Terminal of the airline en route to Abuja, she was asked to pay an extra N4,500.00 as “wheelchair charges”.
Stella told FIJ that she was shocked to hear this, as other airlines whom her friends had travelled with in the past did not charge this fee.
In other not to miss her flight, Stella reluctantly paid this fee. However, during her return journey back to Enugu, Stella said she was again asked to pay “wheelchair charges”, bringing the charges to a total of N9,000.
She also accused a Dana air attendant at Abuja terminal of discrimination.
“When coming back at their Abuja terminal, the young lady who was there did not even want to attend to me. The way she was behaving, she did not even take my flight booklet,” she continued.
“She said they won’t be flying me. She said I was not supposed to come with my own wheelchair. That they’re supposed to be taking me with their own wheel chair.
“I was like if I get to my destinationn does that mean I have to rent a wheel chair that will aid my movement? Then why I do I have my aid with me who is my brother? What is the essence of my wheelchair? She said that its their policy.”
Corroborating Stella’s claim, Olawunmi Okupe, Programmes Director, IFA, wondered why an airline would charge for a wheelchair.
“We flew in persons with disability from all over Nigeria for our programme. To our greatest surprise, It was only Dana that charged for wheelchair,” Okupe said.
“When she called me to explain I said okay, no problem; just get the receipts. This is something that is really alarming. If they’re going to charge for wheelchair of persons with disability, they should they should also charge for my legs because that’s their mode of mobility. If you’re charging for it, that means you’re charging for the person’s means of mobility.”
FIJ placed calls to three numbers listed on Dana Air’s website, but none was responded to. Messages sent to the lines were also not replied.
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