Discrimination Against Disabled Passenger: Judge’s Absence Stalls N550m Suit Against Dana Air

By Chidi Okenwa

The absence of Justice F. O.Giwa-Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court, Enugu in court on Tuesday, stalled the commencement of the N550 million damages suit slammed on Dana Air Limited by a human rights organization, Disability Rights Protection Initiative (DRP).

The group had dragged the Airline to the court for allegedly refusing and denying a passenger on Wheelchair, Gloria Nwogbo,from boarding and accessing their airline at Akanu Ibiam International Airport,Enugu, on the ground that she was disabled.

The incident allegedly took place on August 5, 2021 after she had purchased her air ticket and obtained her boarding pass hence the human rights organization is demanding N550 million damages for Nwogbo.

However, the matter which was fixed for mentioning on Tuesday could not hold as the Presiding Judge Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjowas not present in court, leaving the counsel to the plaintiff, Owoh Lilianto take March 23 date off record for mention of the matter.

Owoh told our Correspondent that:“The Judge could not make it to the court so we have to take date off record and that is March 23.”

In the suit, FHC/EN/CS/181/2021 filed by the applicant’s lawyer, Kelechi Chukwu, she among other reliefs, is asking the Court to declare that the action of respondent in refusing and denying Nwogbofrom boarding and/or accessing their airline on the ground that she was disabled “is inhuman, degrading and discriminatory.”

The applicant is also asking for a declaration that the terms and conditions of the respondent’s air ticket which states that‘special passengers: wheelchair (WCHR) and visually impaired (Blind) passengers cannot travel without an accompanied person, we are always happy to serve WCHR and Blind passengers but they cannot travel unaccompanied’, was discriminatory contrary to section 42(2) of the constitution as amended and therefore, illegal, unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void.

“An order of this Honourable Court directing the respondent to pay the sum of N50 million only as exemplary damages to the applicant for the inhuman, degrading and discriminatory treatment meted out to the Applicant.

“An order of this Honourable Court directing the respondent to pay the sum of N500 million only as general damages to the applicant for the shame, shock, public ridicule and psychological trauma suffered by the applicant as a result the inhuman, degrading and discriminatorytreatment meted out to the applicant.”

Written by: Frank Oshanugor

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