Commission urges airlines to protect rights of PWD

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By Maureen Okon

The Anambra Disability Rights Commission has called on local airlines to protect the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD).

Mr Chukwuka Ezewuzie , the commission’s chairman, made the plea at a press conference in Abuja on Friday.

He alleged that some local airlines had been discriminating against PWD with impunity.

Ezewuzie cited an incident, which involved him in 2019, where an airliner insisted that he must produce a travel companion before he could board a plane from Abuja to Anambra.

Ironically, the chairman said, he boarded the same airline to Abuja without a companion for the conference he attended.

” I told them that i have travelled alone unsupervised to 21 countries through 50 airports around the world, without a travel companion, they refused to allow me travel alone.

” This caused me to spend more money in securing another ticket with a different airline that did not require a travel companion,” he said.

Ezewuzie said the purpose of the press conference was to draw the attention of local airlines to the special needs of PWD.

” It is also to call on the airlines to respect the federal laws, respect the provisions of the international convention of the rights of PWD community.

” To respect the resolution of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that is the umbrella organisation for all the airlines around the world.

” Also, we want the domestic airlines in Nigeria to pay attention to the law of the land, to the needs of PWD community and to the rule of the organisation they subscribe to,’’ he said.

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The chairman called on stakeholders to work assiduously toward eliminating all forms of barriers to accessing air transportation by PWD.

” The World Health Organisation has estimated that more than 1.3 billion people live with some form of disability, which constitutes approximately 16 per cent of the world’s population.

” The airline commitment to accessible air transport was reaffirmed at the 2019 IATA Annual General Meeting , when IATA members approved a Resolution on PWD community.

” The UN Convention on the rights of PWD community requires its parties to take appropriate measures , so that PWD community have access.

“They should have access on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation and others, both in the urban and rural areas,’’ he said.(NAN)(

Edited by Nabilu Balarabe/Ifeyinwa Omowole

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