Blessing Mary Ochiedo, a grantee at ‘We Are Family Foundation’, a non-profit organisation, has complained about the lack of customer-friendly accesses for people with disabilities in various banks and other notable business locations in Abuja.
Ochiedo said that many banking halls in the Federal Capital Territory remain inaccessible to persons with disabilities despite the enactment of the 2019 Disability Act which clearly states that all public spaces must provide for customers or visitors who have special needs.
“Whenever I ask whether they have separate accesses for persons with disabilities, they would say no and refer me to other branches,” Ochiedo said.
Ochiedo added that she had been advocating for the creation of special accesses to banks and other public places for persons with disabilities since 2019, hoping that the Nigerian Disability law will improve the situation.
“Sadly, my efforts have not yielded any fruit,” she said.
“When I got to the Bank Branch I eventually used in Asokoro, the staff member who attended to me was not even willing to meet me halfway. After abandoning my chair outside the bank and using the walker even though I was sick and could barely walk, he still insisted I come right to the counter for service.
“It is really appalling the way businesses treat persons with disabilities in Nigeria. It is as though we clearly don’t matter.”
Ochiedo reiterated that Nigerian businesses need to consider persons with disabilities who constitute a respectable portion of Nigerian banks’ many customers.
Nigeria’s banking sector has undergone sweeping reforms in recent decades with several commercial banks now gaining international prominence and spreading their reach across Africa. Despite this growth, however, the industry continues to turn a blind eye to a key section of the population: People with Disabilities (PwDs).
Disabilities are conditions that affect a person’s ability to perform certain activities, impairing such things as vision, hearing, thinking, learning, movement, mental health, communication, memory, or social interactions.