David Anyaele, the convener of the Coalition of Disability Organisation (CODO), has urged the federal government to step up efforts to provide an inclusive and accessible environment and services for people with disabilities (PWDs) at airports across the country.
Mr Anyaele made the appeal on Tuesday at a public presentation on ‘Enhancing Access to Airports for Persons With Disabilities’, held at Elomaz Hotel, Maryland, Lagos.
“People with Disabilities experience a lot of hardship in the country, and the difficulty in travelling through the airport isn’t easy at all because there are no basic amenities for us there,” stated the convener. “We are treated harshly by airport staff because of our disabilities, so special training should be organised for airport and airline personnel on the needs of PWDs and how best to meet them.”
Mr Anyaele noted that in other countries, there are wheelchair elevators that convey us to the aircraft and back.
“But in this country, there is none like that, as even the bus that would carry you to the point of entry of the aircraft isn’t user-friendly in all ramifications. The government needs to address this urgently because there are so many difficulties we experience in the airport, and it shouldn’t be so,” he pointed out.
Mr Anyaele urged the federal government to carry out more enlightenment programmes on respecting the rights of PWDs.
“The airport authorities need to go beyond the use of public address systems for announcements that persons with auditory impairment may not be able to decode. There should also be provision for inclusion of information at booking points so as to indicate their status and special needs, for airport officials to make necessary arrangements to meet their needs,” he added.
Ibrahim Jafar, assistant general manager at the directorate of consumer protection of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), stated, “I’m certain that the relevant airport authorities are working to ensure that all these amenities are provided so as to cater to the needs of PWDs.”
Mr Jafar added, “In cases of discrimination of PWDs by airport and airline personnel, reports should be lodged to the complaint unit of NCAA, and you can rest assured that it would get the relevant attention.” (NAN)