By JOYCE OKOLI
Experts in the Logistics and Transport Sector have urged the Government, Agencies and Organisations to make adequate provisions to cater for People with Disability (PWD) at the workplace.
This was echoed at a virtual event organised by Women in Logistics and Transport (WILAT) Nigeria on Thursday.
Speaking at the forum tagged “Mainstreaming the Physically Challenged in the Maritime, Transport and Logistics Sector”, the National President, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril said that the physically challenged are not well catered for in the industry, and called on regulators as well as operators to embark on enlightenment campaigns that prioritise the wellbeing of People with Disability.
He emphasised the need to provide the necessary facilities to aid PWDs in carrying out their works diligently and without stress as this would offer some leverage to affected persons as they work.
While appreciating the efforts of WILAT towards assisting the physically challenged in the industry, he said it is necessary for organisations to put in place walkways, wheelchairs, as well as other aids and equipment.
“We at CILT Nigeria appreciate the work of WILAT. We appreciate what you are doing in order to facilitate the need of PWD. To be honest with you, WILAT has made us very proud, particularly our WILAT Nigeria.
“I know at the global level they are doing very well too but we are proud of our own and that only shows that WILAT Nigeria has not only been the founding branch of WILAT but also keeping the pace in tackling challenges that are associated with our Logistics and Transport industry,” he stated.
Also speaking at the event, a stakeholder and former Port Manager, Chief Mrs Carol Ufere said even though the PWDs are challenged, they should be treated with equality as their able-bodied counterparts.
She bemoaned the existence of workplace discrimination resulting in PWDs not occupying high-level positions in agencies they work no matter their prowess.
“The issue of the physically challenged has not received much attention within the sector, it is my fervent hope that this conference will provide the requisite platform to dilate on issues required to bridge the extant gap.
“A grossly check in the maritime industry reveals the high-level exclusion of PWD in the top management cadre in the maritime sector, only in the middle cadre are a few PWD favoured. The social exclusion of the physically challenged in the workplace transcends recruitment and placement,” she said.
Ufere also noted that disabled women face more challenges than men, considering the home front in their activities too.
“We can go a step further and advocate for disability on disabled women and how they face dangers more than their male counterparts who are immune from that. The constant threat of sexual abuse and the inability to defend themselves due to their disability.
“Having to deal with managing household and children in tandem with work. All of these coupled with working in a male-dominated environment such as the maritime sector is ten times harder for disabled women,” she stated.
While applauding WILAT for the initiative, she stressed the need for regular advocacy and campaign to eliminate negative perceptions on the physically challenged as they face physical, communication, and technological barriers.