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PLWDs’ Rights: FCCPC condemns discriminatory practices as FAAN seals off KFC outlet at Lagos Airport

*Dr. Adamu  Abdullahi, Acting Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of FCCPC, asserts Section 17 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) emphasises the obligation of the Commission to eliminate practices detrimental to competition and consumer welfare, and to safeguard consumer interests in Nigeria

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has said it is aware of the unfortunate incident at the KFC outlet located at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, involving discriminatory actions against a passenger with reduced mobility.

The FCCPC strongly condemns any form of discrimination against consumers, especially those based on disability.

ConsumerConnect reports the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) earlier had sealed off the KFC Restaurant at the Lagos Airport over incidence of discriminatory practices against People Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) at the outlet at MMIA, in Lagos.

Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, Acting Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO), in a statement issued Thursday, March 28, 2024, noted that Section 17 of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA) outlines the functions of the Commission, emphasising the obligation to eliminate practices detrimental to competition and consumer welfare, and to safeguard consumer interests.

Abdullahi stated that discriminatory actions, such as those witnessed at the KFC outlet, undermine these principles and will not be tolerated.

According to him, under the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, Section 1 unequivocally prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in any manner or circumstance.

The Acting EVC/CEO also stated: “The FCCPC, mandated by the FCCPA, is duty-bound to enforce all enactments aimed at protecting consumers, including those with disabilities.

“Discrimination against persons with disabilities is not only unlawful but also inhumane and contrary to the values that we, as a society, hold dear.”

He further said: “Our team will work closely with relevant authorities to ensure appropriate redress for the aggrieved consumer in this case, as well as ensure that the KFC outlet in question takes full responsibility for its actions.

“The FCCPC commends the swift action reportedly taken by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in shutting down the KFC outlet.

“We fully support its directive for the restaurant to issue a written apology to the affected individual and implement a clear non-discrimination policy displayed prominently for all customers. We will closely monitor developments and take appropriate actions in accordance with the provisions of the FCCPA.”

The Commission indicated that the recent incident serves as a stark reminder to all businesses operating in Nigeria, that consumer protection laws apply equally, regardless of a customer’s ability.

Abdullahi stated: “The FCCPC remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that all consumers, irrespective of their physical abilities, are treated with dignity and respect.

“The Commission therefore encourages consumers who have faced similar discriminatory practices to come forward and report them through our designated channels.”

FCCPC also said: “We stand firm in our commitment to promoting a fair and inclusive marketplace for all Nigerians.

“The Commission will continue to take all necessary steps to ensure that the rights of consumers, including those with disability, are upheld and protected.”

It is recalled that FAAN Thursday in a statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mrs Obiageli Orah, had noted that KFC outlet violated the Lagos State law on People with Special Needs, Part C, Section 55 of General Provisions on Discrimination.

The aivation regulator also said that the directive followed a social media report by a Passenger with Reduced Mobility who alleged discriminatory treatment he received at the airport.

It read, “In line with Lagos State law on People with Special Needs, Part C, section 55 of General Provisions on Discrimination which states that “A person shall not deprive another person of access to any place, vehicle or facility that members of the public are entitled to enter or use on the basis of the disability of that person”, the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has closed the KFC facility at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos with effect from March 28, 2024.

“This is as a result of a social media report by a Passenger with Reduced Mobility (PRM), alleging discriminatory treatment he received at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

“The MD/CE of FAAN, Mrs Olubunmi, Kuku intervened swiftly by deploying a management team comprising the Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mrs Obiageli Orah; the Regional Manager South West, Mr. Sunday Ayodele; Ag. General Manager Public Affairs, Mrs Ijeoma Nwosu-Igbo and the International Terminal Manager, Mr. Kerri, to investigate the allegation.”

FAAN said: “It is based on the findings of the team that FAAN has shut down the KFC facility at the MMA, where the incident occurred.

“The authority has instructed that the KFC Management should tender an unreserved apology, in writing, to the affected PRM and a policy statement of non-discrimination be written and pasted conspicuously at the door post of their facility at MMIA before it resumes operation.

“FAAN uses this medium to express our unreserved apology to the affected Passenger with Reduced Mobility and assures all airport users that we shall continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the rights of every passenger are not infringed upon.”

Incidentally, the victim of the maltreatment, Adebola Daniel, son of former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel, had recounted his experience at the KFC outlet of the airport in a series of tweets posted  Wednesday via his X handle, @DebolaDaniel.

Daniel, who is a wheelchair user, described his ordeal as “the worst sort of public humiliation” he ever had. He disclosed that his ordeal all started during his planned trip to London from Lagos via a Virgin Atlantic airline.

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