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FAAN shuts KFC for discriminating against physically-challenged ex-gov’s son .

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has shut down a branch of a popular food outlet, KFC, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos State.

FAAN stated this on Thursday in a statement signed by its Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mrs Obiageli Orah.

The statement, titled, ‘FAAN shuts down KFC outlet at MMIA,’ noted that the food outlet violated the Lagos State law on People with Special Needs, Part C, Section 55 of General Provisions on Discrimination.

The statement added 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.”

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

Daniel, a wheelchair user, described his ordeal as “the worst sort of public humiliation” he ever had.

The Ogun State-born noted that it all started during his planned trip to London from Lagos via a Virgin Atlantic airline.

He stated that in years past, while he was quite familiar with security and immigration processes, being a frequent traveller, he would visit the Oasis lounge of the airport to wait for his flight.

However, because “the lift to the lounge has been out of service,” for the past three years, he decided to find “solace” at the KFC outlet in the airport, alongside his wife and his three brothers, whom they were travelling together.

“Today I chose KFC – what a colossal mistake,” he bemoaned.

His tweets partly read, “Being disabled often rolls over my spirit, leaving behind a trail of shattered dignity and forgotten humanity. Nowhere more so than in Nigeria.

“I have never been the type of person to make a fuss or complain about my disability. My approach has always been ‘laissez-faire.’ Ultimately, it is what it is. It is a part of my identity and like everyone else, I have my days of self-doubt and confusion as to how/if I fit in society.

“To be disabled in Nigeria is to be undesirable, unwelcome and unaccepted. As I’ve said before, it’s a lonely, scary and isolated place.

“Never has this been more true than it has ever been today when I faced the worst sort of public humiliation that I have ever experienced. To think that this happened at an international brand @kfc @kfcnigeria at an international airport – Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos – is unthinkable.”

Daniel stated that he “arrived at the airport as normal for my Virgin Atlantic flight to London. I’m a frequent flyer and I’m extremely familiar with all due processes at Murtala Muhammed Airport. Years ago, after all security and immigration formalities had been completed, I would normally go to the Oasis lounge to wait for my flight.

“For the past three years, the lift to the lounge has been out of service so I’ve often found solace in other establishments, sometimes lounges, sometimes restaurants such as @kfc @kfcnigeria.”

Daniel stated that as they were about to sit, a lady who is “apparently the manager” called out loudly, “No wheelchairs allowed.”

He added that upon hearing what she said, one of his brothers, Taiwo, asked what the lady meant, but “she refused to listen to reason and stood her ground that at @kfc @kfcnigeria Murtala Muhammed branch, wheelchairs and wheelchair users of all shapes and sizes were not permitted in the premises and we should leave immediately.

“My siblings and wife became instantly irate and proceeded to debate her position with her, ultimately cumulating in raised voices and strong verbal protests. If there’s one thing I hate more than anything in this life is to create a scene. I detest it. I do not like to draw attention to myself and as such I began pleading with my people that we should just leave.

“My wife took some video footage and my brothers took some pictures. There were at least five other witnesses at the scene, who tried to intervene as things unfolded. Eventually, our party departed to another lounge upset and quite frankly pissed off.”

Daniel stated that he wouldn’t let such an incident slide, adding that as another of his brothers alongside his wife met the lady at another time, she stressed “that the business does not allow wheelchairs into their premises,” while they took an audio record of her statement.

He recalled the lady saying that “she recently just transferred to that branch, it is something that has been drummed into them.

“It harkens back to dark periods in recent history… No wheelchairs allowed… No coloureds allowed…. No blacks allowed…,” saying, “Today, I felt less than human, like a guard dog not allowed into the house. Lonely and isolated.”

Daniel noted that he would “continue to escalate the matter “until I get a reasonable resolution and there’s no stopping me. You cannot treat people this way.

“There are approximately 27 million Nigerians living with some form of disability. That’s over 13% of the country. One in six people on the planet are disabled. You must not treat people this way.

“So my question to @kfc @kfcnigeria is simple. Does this represent your approach to disabled customers or will you be looking into this? Am I not human enough for KFC?”

He added an audio record of the conversation between his wife and the lady.

“Audio clip from my wife. I’m trying to get all the evidence up on here,” he wrote.

In response to the allegation before the outlet’s shutdown by the FAAN, KFC tweeted via its official X handle on Thursday morning, stating, “KFC is unwavering in our stance against bias or discrimination in any form, with inclusivity and respect as non-negotiable pillars of our values.

“However, this recent incident has underscored the pressing need for immediate action. We have embarked on efforts to address the situation and extend apologies and deeply regret the frustration and distress experienced by our guest.”

The food outlet added that it’s “urgently implementing sensitivity training for all our employees. This incident is not reflective of our standards, and we will act swiftly to rectify it.

“We are actively exploring solutions to equip our team members and establishments better to ensure that every guest feels genuinely welcomed and that we deliver empathetic customer service that proactively addresses the diverse needs of each guest.”

On Thursday, the General Manager, Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs, Mrs Adenike Oyetunde-Lawal, stated in a statement that the attention of her office “has been drawn to a viral story about the discrimination against Mr. Debola Daniel, a person with a disability in a wheelchair. This incident happened on 27th of March 2024, at a KFC restaurant located at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.”

The LASODA GM noted that “it frowns upon any form of discrimination, particularly against persons with disabilities. Every individual, regardless of their disability, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

“The agency is committed to ensuring that the rights of persons with disabilities are protected and upheld in Lagos State. Discriminatory actions, such as those alleged in this incident, are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“LASODA, therefore, encouraged anyone who has experienced discrimination based on their disability to report such incidents to [email protected] We are committed to working towards a society that is inclusive and accessible to all.”

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