The Project Accessible Aviation/CARE & Access For All…A Call to Action is an initiative of Center for Ability Rehabilitation and Empowerment (CARE) founded by Dr. Chike Okogwu in line with one of the Centre’s mantra that ‘Experiences in Life Should Refine and Not Define One…Rise Above That Challenge’. It is aimed at removing all barriers to accessible air transportation for persons with disabilities in Nigeria. It was borne out of the daily frustrations passengers with disabilities continue to face in airports and local airlines companies in Nigeria, bearing in mind, most importantly, that we need to have the compassion and caring for helping to protect vulnerable people as Ellen Sauerbrey says and ‘If we truly believe in the value of life, we should care about all of the weakest and most vulnerable members of society’ – Joni Eareckson. Tada).
Nigeria currently has 47 Airports (including airstrips and military airports) but all of them except three, Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) and MM2 Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (International Wing) Abuja. The rest are plagued by
inaccessible infrastructure rendering them literally useless to persons with disabilities.
Project Accessible Aviation, CARE & Access For All…A Call to Action is intended to amongst other things, ensure solutions – that at every airport in Nigeria, there must exist modern assistive devices to eliminate any form of accessibility barriers around the airports and within the aircrafts.
In addition, there must be a ‘CARE and Access For All Counters’ supported by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to provide services to all PWDs defined as, sick, pregnant women, elderly, albino and any vulnerable person. The desk will register, assist and record all PWD passenger and ensure their best treatment all through the journey. The records received will help the NCPWD in her issuance of Disabilities Certificate program in line with the Nigerian Disabilities Prohibition Act (2019).
Also, all the PWDs assistants at the desks must wear Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in conformity with COVID-19 Protocols for protection of PWD passenger, airport assistants them, all the other passengers and crew on the transit. Project Accessible Aviation through the Voice I-rant grant will seek to amongst other things;
- Commit key stakeholders in the Nigerian Aviation sector to implement accessible air transport systems.
- Train airline operators on the flying rights of persons with disabilities.
- Procure and deploy assistive devices at airline terminals.
- Create jobs for the operators of the assistive devices and ancillary services at the airports. We estimate that at-least 1000 new jobs spanning the 46 airports in Nigeria will be created.