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Reopening of Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu and Access to Airport for Persons with Disabilities

Reopening of Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu and Access to Airport for Persons with Disabilities

We commend President Mohammed Buhari for the reopening of Akanu Ibiam International Airport after many months of shutdown. We are excited that flights can now resume at the airport.

We appreciate President Buhari for his commitment to infrastructural development in the country, which compelled him to take action to ensure the dilapidated condition of the airport runway is rehabilitated.

We are pleased to note that other facilities such as taxiway, linkway, emergency operation center, car park, the entrance of the gate, perimeter fence, and other critical airport infrastructures were provided in the rehabilitation project.

However, we are worried that President Buhari failed to ensure that the rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport includes the provision of Wheelchair lift designed for safety and access to aircraft for passengers with disabilities

We are concerned that more than 90% of airports in Nigeria are not accessible to citizens with Disabilities in Nigeria, even as the Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation was delivered without consideration to key Airport infrastructures pertinent to more than 25 million Nigerians with disabilities.

This is at variance with President Buhari’s June 12, 2020 directives which include “that all relevant Government agencies pay special attention to the peculiarities of persons with disabilities in the formulation of their policies and programmes, and where suitable their employment”

The none-inclusion of disability sensitive infrastructures in the rehabilitation of Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu, conflicts with the provisions of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 also known as the National Disability Act. Section 14 (2) of the Act provides that “All airports shall make available for the conveyance of persons with disabilities who need presentable and functional assistive and protective devices to and from the airport”

Regrettably, Enugu State Government is yet to adopt the National Disability Act, a situation that has exposed persons with disabilities in the State to constant discrimination, exclusion, and neglect by the State government, as the State depends on a charity-based approach in addressing disability issues, which is not sustainable.

We are calling on President Mohammadu Buhari to compel the Minister of Aviation to provide without delay wheelchair lift designed for safety, and access to aircraft for passengers with disabilities in all the Airports across the Federation. Take necessary actions to ensure that Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies, in particular, the Federal Ministry of Aviation implements the National Disability Act.

Ensure that the ₦1 billion terminal building expansion includes disability sensitive infrastructures such as disability-friendly toilets and car parks amongst others.

Enugu State Government to adopt the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 without further delay, as many States in the Federation have passed Disability Laws to protect their own citizens with disabilities from discrimination and hardship associated with disability.

We would like to assure Nigerians and persons with disabilities in particular that, CCD is committed to holding the government accountable to ensure full implementation of the National Disability Act.

The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is the premier organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote disability rights, independent living, and inclusion of persons with disabilities and their families in development agenda. It also works to educate, support, and empower persons with disabilities to maximize their potentials. CCD led the CSOs campaign for the passage of the National Disability Act in 2019.

We have over the past ten years sought a redefinition of the societal response to the plights of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.

Thank you.

David O. Anyaele,
Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)


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