The National Commission for Persons With Disability (NCPWD) has called for the training of airline operators to build the capacity of their workers to enable them treat People With Disabilities (PWDs) with dignity.
Mr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of the commission made the call when Mr Chike Okogwu, a person with disability, an activist and anchor of `The Special TV Show’ paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
Lalu said that accessibility in the areas of education, healthcare, aviation and transport facilities remained a matter of concern to the community of PWDs.
“We are having very serious challenges of accessibility to the airports and airlines. We also have to deal with the attitude of operators of these places.
“Just recently, we were to board a flight with a woman on wheel chair from Abuja to Owerri. I saw some strange men came to carry her; somewhere holding her on her shoulders, some on her waist, some on her thighs just to put her in the plane.
“I felt so bad. What if she is my own wife, how will I feel, seeing men grabbing her like that. I had to apologise to her on behalf of the commission. Same thing happened when we arrived our destination.
“Other areas are communication gap, the attitude of the people operating the airlines and those working in the airports. They behave towards us as if it was our fault that God created us this way.
“However, we strongly recommend capacity building for the airline operators, workers and our people in the airports for them to understand the dignity and rights of PWDs and treat them accordingly,” Lalu said.
The NCPWD boss explained that if their capacity was built, they would apply it to how they attend to PWDs in the airports.
He emphasised that facilities at the airports belonged to everybody and thus should be beneficial to all the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without discrimination.
Earlier, Okogwu appreciated Lalu and the efforts he was putting to ensure that NCPWD positively affected the lives of those with disabilities.
He said that the challenges faced by PWDs at the airports could not be over emphasised, adding that some of them usually were frustrated just to enter the plane.
He said that in most cases, some had to rebook their flights due to the attitude of some workers at the airport.
“With the coming of NCPWD, a lot of injustice and discrimination against PWDs will soon be a thing of the past,” Okogwu said.