PWD decries ill-treatment by Airline Operators, calls for urgent upgrade of airport facilities

By Victor Dim-Oba

Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) have decried the ill-treatment meted out to them when boarding and disembarking the aircraft by operators of local and international airlines in the country calling for urgent upgrade of airport facilities that will promote access and inclusion for them.

In a joint world press conference by Grace Jerry, Executive Director, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and Lois Auta, Executive Director, Cedar Seed Foundation, Patience Ogolo-Dickson, Executive Director, AWWDI lamented the ill-treatment of persons with disabilities (PWDs) by local and international airlines in Nigeria.

According to them, the press conference has become important and necessary in order to beam light on one of the social injustices persons with disabilities face at the airport in accessing means of transportation for business, study and conference by airplanes adding that persons with disabilities have had to cope with a great deal of inconveniences and discomfort as passengers with disabilities from boarding to disembarking.

They complained that the isle to the seats in the plane is not designed to accommodate wheel chairs/reduced mobility forcefully restricting their movement resulting to alight last after all other passengers regardless of how urgent the need may be.

They disagree with the airplane operators on their notion that the battery used by electric wheelchair is an explosive device stating that airline attendants have mistakenly caused damages to their wheelchairs that has been their personal experience.

PWDs are calling for all local and international airlines to provide lift trucks to board PWDs into the aircraft and when disembarking as well as isle chairs to convey PWDs especially those on wheelchairs to the seats on board the plane.

They remarked that they are first humans, male and female before having different forms of disabilities demanding for equal treatment with the provision of necessary accommodations that would enable them enjoy every privilege and rights they paid for on the airline.

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