By Dirisu Yakubu – Abuja
Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has assured Persons Living With Disabilities, PLWDs, of adequate protection of their rights at the nation’s airports in accordance with the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act.
The Minister gave the assurance when the Executive Director, Centre for Citizen with Disabilities, David Ayaele and his team paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja.
According to him, equipment and facilities to help the movement of persons with disabilities at the airports would be provided, adding that no form of discrimination and mistreatment of persons with disabilities at the nation’s airports would be tolerated henceforth.
The Minister further directed all airline operators in Nigeria to ensure that persons with disabilities are accorded all rights and support in the course of their travels.
A statement signed by James Odaudu, Director, Press, and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Aviation, quoted Sirika as saying that the mandatory 5 per cent employment quota enshrined in the Disability Act has been surpassed, as the Ministry and its agencies do not have any record of discrimination against people with disabilities.
Earlier the Executive Director Centre for Citizen with Disabilities Mr. David Ayaele complained to the Minister about the incessant discrimination experienced by persons with disabilities at the nation’s airports and called for the full implementation of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) 2018 Act.
Ayaele urged the Minister to speedily investigate the increasing human rights violations against citizens with disabilities by airlines operators in Nigeria with a view to bringing perpetrators to book and eliminating all forms of violence against such persons at the nation’s airports.
He equally appealed to the Minister to ensure that in accordance with the Act, all airlines operating in Nigeria ensure the accessibility of their aircraft to persons with disabilities by making available presentable and functional wheelchairs for the conveyance of such persons to facilitate their movement to and from the aircraft and ensure that disabled persons are accorded priority while boarding and disembarking from aircraft.
The Executive Director also appealed to the Minister to ensure that the 5 per cent employment recommendation in the Disability Act is implemented in the Ministry and its agencies.