People living with disabilities have called for increased access to airport terminals in Nigeria, calling on airport and airline operators to provide equipment, staff and infrastructure that will ensure a smooth travel experience for them.
People with disabilities made this call when the Coalition for Disability Organizations organized an awareness program for the leadership of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and other airport-related agencies.
The program focused on the need to improve airport access for people with disabilities in the country.
A presentation titled “A Public Presentation of Research Findings on Airport Access for Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria” was also made during the program in Lagos.
According to the organizer, CODO/Executive Director of the Center for Disabled Citizens, Mr. David Anyaele, people with disabilities traveling by air often face a lack of facilities such as ramps for wheelchair users, inaccessibility toilets at some airports, and in some cases were denied the ability to fly.
He added that the outreach program aimed to draw stakeholders’ attention to the inability of people with disabilities to access the country’s airports and services.
FAAN International Terminal Manager, Mr. Ayinla Gbolahan, who represented the agency’s Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, assured stakeholders that the grievances raised would be escalated to the relevant authorities.
He said: “I can assure you that this report will be passed on to the heads of the FAAN, NCAA and others. Plans are underway to introduce facilities for the disabled.
According to the Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Association in Nigeria, Mr. Abdulwahab Matepo, it is important to highlight the challenges of persons with disabilities with stakeholders such as the Federal Government, FAAN, among others.
He stressed that the aim of the event was to remove all barriers preventing people with disabilities from accessing airport services like others who do not have their challenges.
A sociology professor, Soyombo Omololu, who spoke at the event, said people with disabilities constantly complained about the unfair and inhumane treatment they suffered at airports, a situation that had forced many of them to use other means of transport.
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