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By Ignatius Ushie

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has promised to ensure that persons with disabilities are accorded all rights and support at the nation airports in accordance with the provisions of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act. This was contained in a statement made available to Transport Day in Abuja.

The Minister gave the assurance when the Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, David Ayaele and his team paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

Serika said equipment and facilities that will help the movement of persons with disability 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.

Sirika told the team that he was sure that the mandatory 5% 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 Citizens with Disabilities Mr. David Obinna Ayaele complained to the Minister about the incessant discrimination experienced by persons with disability at the nation’s airports and called for the full implementation of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) 2018 Act.

Ayaele urged the Hon Minister to speedily investigate the increasing human rights violations against citizens with disabilities by airlines operators in Nigeria with a view of bringing perpetrators to book and elimination of all forms of violence against such persons at the nation’s airport.

He equally appealed to the Minister to ensure that in accordance with 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 persons with disabilities 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 implementation of the 5% employment recommendation in the Disability Act is implemented in the ministry and its agencies.

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