Centre for Ability, Rehabilitation and Empowerment ( CARE) have seek the support of Daar Communication PLC to further create awareness on accessible aviation for persons with disabilities.
This request was made during an advocacy visit by CARE to Daar Communication PLC on Wednesday in Abuja.
The Executive Director of CARE, Dr. Chike Okogwu in his speech informed that CARE is embarking on a project supported by Oxfam Voice to create access aviation for Persons With Disabilities in Nigeria.
He said that the project came about from the discrimination he suffered from an airline (name withheld) on 20th December, 2020, when the said airline denied him boarding at night simply because he is a person with disability. After he has fulfilled all the requirements including paying for an extra ticket.
He said among the discrimination he faced, there are several other discrimination suffered by a wide range of PWDs, ranging from buying extra ticket, being carried like sack into the aircraft, lack of umbrella for persons with albinism which may lead to their skin being burnt because of sun while waiting to board, no sign language interpreters for the Deaf and very many of them have missed their flight because they could hear when their flight is called, no assistant to lead the blind round the airport.
He said that having seen the problem, CARE decided to fix the problem and with the help of Oxfam Voice through Accessible Aviation project for the past one year, FAAN has created disability desk in almost all Nigerian airports; NCAA, through advocacy and capacity building gave directive that PWDs should stop buy extra ticket.
“Now, if you want to book a flight online, you will be asked if you are a person with a disability. NCAA gave a deadline to all airlines and they complied. Today, I can proudly say that PWDs can equally travel stress free like others.”
He said also that all handlers within the airport have been reawakened to their responsibility, formerly, PWDs were not aware that there are companies within aviation saddled with the responsibility of take care of Persons With Reduced Mobility ( PMR) at our airports.
He informed that the project has made it possible for CARE acquired and provide stair Climber
wheelchair and Surface Scissor Elevator to help the wheelchair users access the aircrafts.
“We have permanent staff with All Access Duty Card at Abuja airport”
“If you are a traveler with a disability, inform them ahead of time and they will be there to assist from the arrival at the airport to the aircraft, and it is for all forms of disabilities”.
Dr. Chike stated that CARE team were at Daar Communication Plc because in their stakeholders matrix, the media is number one.
“Even though we have achieved a lot through this project, we also found out that a lot of PWDs are not aware that what CARE have achieved especially at Abuja airport
“We seek your support to amplify and inform Nigerians, especially PWDs, that there is a new life for PWDs in the Aviation Sector. We are aware of your huge viewers and you have been a partner to PWDs even before the passage of Disability Act”.
Modupe Oladeinde representing Executive Director, Daar Communication Plc, commended CARE for its achievements in the aviation sector.
She ensured the group of Daar Communication Plc is ever ready to assist the downtrodden in our society.
“We have been accommodating a lot of programs from people as corporate social responsibility, because Daar Communication is meant to serve Nigerians and every Nigerian is free to access our service and as professionals, we are duty bound to ensure it happens “.
She urged CARE to develop a jingle on the message they want to pass and apply and the Daar group will look at it and consider. She also urged them to reach out to Daar whenever they are carrying out any activity so that Daar can provide the necessary coverage.
“We have been like a family to persons with disabilities, we have a program like Will and Zeal on AIT being presented by a person with disability, Liman”.
Eruaga Godfrey, Transport/Logistics Manager, Daar Communication Plc urged the group not to relent in their quest for a better society for persons with disabilities. He acknowledged that there is nothing different between a person with disability and a person without disability. Disability is only a condition, it can happen to anybody.