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Reps Want MDA’s To Comply With Disabilities Act As Aviation Stakeholders Assure PWDs Of Equal Access To Air Travel. By Saheed Badmus

Reps Want MDA’s To Comply With Disabilities Act As Aviation Stakeholders Assure PWDs Of Equal Access To Air Travel

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Nigerian House of Representatives has reiterated commitment to ensuring compliance with the Disabilities Act across various Ministries Departments Agencies, MDAs of Government

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The Disability Act, also known as the Discrimination against People with Disabilities Prohibition Act 2018, was passed by the National Assembly to protect the rights of persons with disabilities and promote their overall welfare.

However, despite its passing, compliance with the Act has not received sufficient attention since the expiration of the grace period in January.

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The Chairman House Commitee on Disabilities matters, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu stated this at the Signing and validation of a partnership Charter between Aviation stakeholders and PWD travellers and handing over the disabilities service desk and Equipment to National commission for persons with disabilities ceremony Organised by a Non Govermental Organisation, Center for Ability, Rehabilitation and Empowerment, CARE.

Hon. Dawodu commended Speaker of the house Dr. Tajudeen Abass for his foresight in establishing the committee and assembling a team dedicated to advancing disability rights.

Dawodu who noted their extensive engagement with communities and their tireless efforts to kickstart the implementation process highlighted Key provisions of the Disabilities Act to include access to public buildings, employment quotas, and promotion of welfare for persons with disabilities stressed the importance of enforcing these measures to protect the rights and promote the well-being of individuals with disabilities.

According to him, the Commitee will continue to closely monitor government agencies’ adherence to the law, particularly in areas such as recruitment, housing, transportation, and healthcare.

He urged stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the legislation and pledged to facilitate robust stakeholder engagement to shape future initiatives under the Disabilities Act.

Notably, Dawodu emphasizes the role of the Ministry of Information in raising awareness about persons with disabilities, ensuring their inclusion in public discourse.

He noted “Section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution establishes the National Assembly and grants it the power to represent, legislate, and oversee other branches of government. Sections 88 and 89 specifically empower the National Assembly to exercise oversight and invite representatives from different aspects of the government for questioning.

“To address this issue, the committee is now taking steps to enforce the law effectively.

“Furthermore, the Act mandates that persons with disabilities have access to all public buildings, and it also requires government entities to allocate at least 5% of their recruitment to persons with disabilities.

“The Act covers various aspects of life, including housing, transportation, and health.

“The committee’s plan moving forward includes not only the legislative aspect but also extensive engagement with stakeholders and communities.

“This approach aims to incorporate diverse perspectives into the committee’s agenda for the next four years, as it strives to improve the implementation of the Disabilities Act and enhance the lives of persons with disabilities. ”

Also Speaking, Director Research and documentation Association of Lawyers with Disability in Nigeria, Barrister Yusuf Iyodo who expressed dismay over the lack of effective implementation of the law, which has resulted in continued discrimination and marginalization of persons with disabilities.

He emphasized the importance of enforcing the provisions of the Disabilities Act to ensure equal opportunities and access to resources for individuals with disabilities.

He noted that the Association of Lawyers with Disability in Nigeria remains committed to advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities and addressing the systemic barriers they face.

Barrister Iyodo urged stakeholders, including government agencies, civil society organizations, and the general public, to work together to eliminate discrimination and promote inclusivity for persons with disabilities in Nigeria.

Speaking on the Accessible Aviation Project, Chief Responsibility officer, Center for Ability, Rehabilitation and Empowerment, CARE, Dr. Chike Okogwu explained that the Project aimed at ensuring equitable access to air travel to for all individuals, regardless of physical or cognitive abilities.

According to him, the signing of the Charter between the Aviation stakeholders and the PWDs signifies a concerted commitment to address the challenges faced by persons with disabilities in accessing air transportation and to implement sustainable solutions.

“The partnership charter outlines a comprehensive framework for cooperation, advocacy, and action, with a focus on enhancing accessibility across all aspects of air travel.

“Key objectives include the improvement of physical infrastructure at airports to accommodate diverse needs, the implementation of training programs to sensitize aviation personnel on disability rights and best practices, and the promotion of inclusive policies and services within the aviationy industry.

The Head of commercial and business development at Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Plc, Chioma Offor advised individuals with disabilities to inform airport staff of their specific needs when purchasing tickets

According to her, the move will improve accessibility and enhance the travel experience for persons with disabilities

She emphasized the importance of proactive communication to ensure that necessary arrangements are made to accommodate passengers with disabilities.

This includes providing assistance with check-in procedures, security screenings, boarding, and disembarkation.

Acknowledging the challenges that individuals with disabilities may encounter during air travel, the company reiterated its commitment to promoting inclusivity and providing support to all passengers.

The company has pledged to work closely with relevant stakeholders, including airlines and regulatory authorities, to implement measures that enhance accessibility and improve the overall travel experience for persons with disabilities.

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