A passenger with disability, Dr Chike Okogwu, has sued Dana Air for alleged unlawful infringement of his fundamental human rights on December 20, 2020.
In a letter by the passenger’s solicitor, Wahab Egbewole & Co. dated January 11th, 2021, he sought N1bn damages for alleged unprofessional conduct of the airline that allegedly worsened Okogwu’s underlying health conditions.
The letter addressed to the airline’s managing director titled ‘Discriminatory and unprofessional conduct of Dana airlines against Dr Chike Churchill Okogwu’ outlined how the passenger’s flight was rescheduled on the morning of his flight to 9:15pm.
It read in part, “We are reliably informed by our client that on December 17, 2020, he booked two business class tickets for his carer and himself for a flight from Abuja to Lagos scheduled for Sunday, December 20, 2020. However, in the morning of the scheduled flight, he received an email from Dana Air notifying him of a rescheduling of the flight to 9:15 pm on the same day.”
The solicitor explained that while his client arrived the airport by 7pm in anticipation of the flight, he was informed by a Dana staff that he could not travel after being earlier issued a boarding pass.
The staff allegedly added that a policy forbade the carrying the passenger in a wheelchair at night.
The letter stated that Okogwu did not plan for a night flight and that it was forced on him by Dana. It also added that it was not communicated to him before he was issued a boarding pass, noting that the policy was discriminatory. This forced the passenger to reach out to the duty manager. However, it was a futile effort.
The letter read, “Though, the duty manager asked our client to return the next day by 7pm in a very rude manner, she failed to give further assurance whether this would not happen again, and the demand by our client to be accommodated for the night in a hotel in line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities regulations was bluntly turned down.
“Our client views the conduct of the duty manager as not only unprofessional, unconscionable but also a violation of his rights to freedom.”
When contacted, the spokesman for Dana, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, promised to revert to our correspondent. At the time of filing this report, he was yet to respond to revert as promised.
However, in a press statement by the airline in December, the airline described the passenger’s conduct as violent, noting that he hurt the airline’s staff and destroyed their booking system in Abuja.
It also warned the passenger to be civil in his engagements as the airline would not tolerate any act of violence against any staff.