PWDs demand more access, facilities at airports

Persons Living with Disabilities have demanded increased access at airport terminals in Nigeria, calling on airport and airline operators to make provisions for equipment, personnel and infrastructure that will guarantee a seamless travel experience for them.

The PLDs made the call when the Coalition for Disability Organisations held a sensitisation programme for the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and other airport-related agencies.

The programme focused on the need to improve airport access for people living with disabilities in the nation.

A presentation titled, ‘A Public Presentation of Research Findings on Access to Airports for Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria,’ was also made during the programme in Lagos.

According to the Convener, CODO/Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disability, Mr David Anyaele, PWDs travelling by air are faced with a lack of amenities such as ramps for persons in wheelchairs, inaccessibility to restrooms at some airports, and in some cases denied the chance to fly.

He added that the sensitisation programme was to draw the attention of stakeholders to the inability of PWDs to access airports and services in the nation.

FAAN’s International Terminal Manager, Mr Ayinla Gbolahan, who represented the agency’s Managing Director, Capt Rabiu Yadudu, assured stakeholders that the grievances raised would get to the appropriate authorities.

He said, “I can assure you that this report will be taken back to the presidents of FAAN, NCAA, and others. Plans are being made to put amenities in place for Persons with Disabilities.”

According to the Director, the  Spinal Cord Injury Association in Nigeria, Mr Abdulwahab Matepo, it is important to highlight the challenges of PWDs with stakeholders such as the Federal Government, FAAN, among others.

He emphasised that the goal of the event was to remove all barriers preventing PWDs from accessing airport services like others who do not have their challenges.

A professor of Sociology, Shoyombo Omoloulu, who spoke at the event, said PWDs were constantly lamenting the unfair and inhumane treatments they were being subjected to at airports, a situation that had forced many of them to resort to other means of transportation.

Article first published on the Punch Website

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