Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Coalition Of Disability Organizations (CODO) has intensified its advocacy and campaign for the removal of barriers against People with Disabilities (PWDs) in airports across Nigeria.
CODO, while presenting a research finding in Enugu on Thursday during a sensitisation workshop for airline operators in the state, noted that PWDs experience myriad of challenges in using airports in the country.
Speaking during the workshop, the convener of CODO, Mr David Anyaele, who was represented by Florence Austin, tasked airport personnel to work towards ensuring that the stipulations and guidelines in the National Disability Act are observed at the airport.
Anyaele urged airport managers and stakeholders to review the attitude of airport personnel towards people living with disabilities and to measure the compliance of airport facilities in line with the National Disability Act.
Aver Alighir, Executive Director of Hope Alive for Possibilities Initiative (HAPI), said that some of the challenges in the findings of the research work included: difficulty in getting on the aircraft; difficulty in climbing the stairs into the airport building due to lack of/non-functioning elevators and ramps.
She said there are currently communication barrier and absence of sign language communication in airport.
“Others are absence of a disability desk at the airport; poor direction in the airport for PWDs; denial of boarding; discrimination/lack of care by other travelers; having to walk a long distance to board the aircraft; having to be carried physically which is embarrassing; absence of dedicated seat for PWDs; and lack of assistance by airport and airline staff amongst others,” she said.
The executive director said that among the several recommendations made by the coalition for a better travel experience for people living with disabilities are: provision of travel information, assistance at airports and training for staff of airlines.
She noted that other recommendations include enlightenment about implementation of the National Disability Law and general public enlightenment on the law.
“There is urgent need to upgrade of airport facilities in line with sections 4 and 5 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 amongst others,” she added.
The workshop was attended by representatives of airlines operating in Enugu State, security agencies and a host of disabilities organisations within Enugu State.