Three Ghanaian domestic airlines, #Africa World Airlines, #Antrak Air and #Starbow Airlines, are in the news for all the wrong reasons following the ill-treatment they meted out on a physically-challenged Nigerian named Ndifreke Andrew-Essien.
The Nigerian, a lady, was practically stopped from boarding either of the three airlines and had a subject herself to thirteen hours of unbearable torment in order to get to her destination.
Recounting her ordeal, she said: “I live in #Port Harcourt (#Rivers #State) where I run a non profit organisation. I secured an internship with an organisation in #Ghana and I was posted to #Salaga which is in the Northern Province of Ghana. The route via air, is Port Harcourt to #Lagos; Lagos to #Accra and Accra to #Tamale. My flights were booked by an agent.”
“On getting to the domestic airport in Accra, I presented my ticket to the airline—Africa World Airline— where my reservations had been made for the Accra-Tamale stretch, but was called aside by the airline official who told me I would not be able to fly with the airline.
“He stated that the airline does not fly with wheelchair-bound passengers, because they don’t have facilities for such a purpose. I told them it wouldn’t be a problem as I had experienced the general lack of facilities when it comes to persons with disabilites. I assured the airline staff that I was ready to work with the airline despite its inadequacy.
However, her entreaties were rebuffed by the airline which she quoted as saying, “We don’t fly wheelchair-bound passengers. It is not our policy.”
“I do not intend this (discriminatory policy) to stop me from achieving my aim. Persons with disabilities are faced with all kinds of issues when it comes to inclusion. This is a clear example of how, in the 21st century, Africa is still not forward-thinking in building a continent for all its citizens.”
Andrew-Essien said she was calling on Africa World Airlines and the #Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to reverse the discriminatory policy that prevents people living with disabilities from travelling. She also called on them to provide necessary equipment to travel with them, The Punch reported.
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