Ethiopian airline causes outrage as it grounds popular disability advocator; misplaces wheelchair.

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The Ethiopian airline has caused serious outrage among Nigerians with disabilities after it grounded popular disability advocator and Executive Director of Inclusive Friends Association, Grace Jerry, for more than 3 hours as they misplaced her wheelchair’s footrest.

Grace who was returning from a programme held in Johannesburg, South Africa took to her facebook page to share her harrowing ordeals.

Information gathered by INN revealed that Grace was grounded at Abuja international airport for over three hours after the airline officials misplaced her checked in wheelchair’s foot rest.

 

The damaged wheelchair

Grace noted that the airline officials were lackadaisical in their approach to solving her wheelchair issue and were also reluctant to providing her a mean to get home.

Expressing her displeasure over the ordeal, she wrote, “This is Grace Jerry, I need your help, I’m still at the airport since 12noon.”

 

“@flyethiopian has grounded me at Abuja airport for over 2hrs as my checked in wheelchair from Johannesburg to Abuja arrived with missing foot rest, they don’t want to provide means for me to get home. My only means of mobility is damaged”. Grace added

Grace Jerry being grounded for hours

After spending days at a program organised by African Peer Review Mechanism in Johannesburg, South Africa and return to find herself grounded for over 3 hours, the Ethiopian airline could only provide her with a service wheelchair which is to be returned within 24 hours and twitted that they have assisted her which was clearly not a permanent solution.

INN gathered that Grace had to go home with a makeshift wheelchair borrowed her by the Nigerian Aviation handlers.

“Nigerian aviation handling company Have just allowed me to go home with their service wheelchair now for only 24hrs After so much drama, But Ethiopian airline in not saying anything. I was grounded at Abuja airport for over 3hrs” Grace said

At around 5pm, 5 hours after the incident, the Ethiopian airline called in to inform Grace on their effort to replace the missing part though they didn’t say how soon she will get her wheelchair back.

“Thank you my FB family for all the swift action. An official from the @flyethiopian abuja office called around 5pm to inform me on their effort to replace the missing part, he didn’t say how soon I’ll get my chair back. @nahco_aviance is taking the chair they borrowed me back tomorrow. Let the fight to get my mobility aid continue please” , Grace further explained.

The show of shame by the Ethiopian Airline incur the wrath of the disability community in Nigeria and abroad who took to Ms Grace comments section to condemn the ill-treatment meted out to her.

Angrily calling for a conference, Tim-Tinat Gwazah has this to say, “Until we have a press conference to address these abuses of persons with disability by airlines, the generation of persons with disabilities yet unborn will be tweeting the same narratives in 2030. I am ready to work with anyone that is ready to take on the airlines in a press conference….. we will make our demand and if no response we can test the recent discrimination against persons with disabilities prohibition law in the court with these companies”

On his part, Wuni Bitrus says, ” I can only imagine what Grace Jerry passed through and is passing through right now! So her checked in wheelchair from Johannesburg arrived Abuja without one foot rest.
How did Ethiopian Airlines expect her to move? That’s her only means of mobility. After hours of being grounded(God knows what she missed), it is the Nigerian Aviation Handling Co that had to #lend her a wheelchair to go home ?? And after 24hours she is going to be without mobility again????
Where is that done?
Ethiopian Air should not go unpunished. Nobody should ever have to pass through this!! He declared.

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