…Urges Enforcement of Discrimination Prohibition Act to Safeguard Dignity
By Ere-ebi Agedah Imisi
In commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Mr. James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities NCPWD, has emphasized the imperative of upholding laws that protect the dignity of individuals with disabilities in Nigeria.
Lalu noted this on Tuesday, while leading a Road walk through the streets of Abuja to raise awareness about disability and inclusion.
The ES highlighted the transformative impact of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act, emphasizing that the landscape has evolved positively with legal safeguards for the dignity of persons with disabilities. He announced that the enforcement of the act is slated to commence on January 17, 2024, with an expectation that public buildings inaccessible to persons with disabilities will be made accessible by that date.
During the awareness road walk, Lalu expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for his commitment to protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. He commended President Tinubu for signing the African Union Protocol on Disability, a move that now grants Nigerian people with disabilities the right to leadership positions within the African subcontinent.
Lalu emphasized that the upcoming year marks five years since the inception of the law. He urged Nigerians to recognize the joint celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the imminent implementation of the law on January 17. Lalu called for national understanding that from this date forward, discrimination against members of the disability community would be legally prohibited in the country.
The central aim of the law, according to Lalu, is to foster unity and shared responsibility among individuals with and without disabilities in Nigeria. As the nation moves toward full implementation, the NCPWD advocates for a society where discrimination against any person with a disability is eradicated, promoting an inclusive and equitable environment for all.
Also speaking, Secretary National Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities, FCT Chapter, Musa Muazu Musa expressed anticipation of challenges as the five-year moratorium on the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act elapses on January 17, 2024.
While acknowledging the efforts made by the commission to raise awareness and implement necessary corrections, Musa emphasized that much work remains to be done.
Musa who also extended gratitude to the President Tinubu for appointing a Senior Special Assistant on disability matters, added that it is a positive step toward the act’s implementation.
However, he underscored the need for broader representation of PWD’s, emphasizing the importance of affording persons with disabilities equal opportunities to assume leadership roles.
In the spirit of this year’s celebration, Musa urged the President and governors of the 36 states to recognize the significance and necessity of appointing Persons with disabilities to various positions adding that such appointments would not only align with the principles of inclusivity but also contribute to fostering a society where persons with disabilities have equal opportunities to lead and contribute to the nation’s development.
In the same vein, National President of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, Abdullahi Usman emphasized on the significance of the upcoming five-year milestone, marking the commencement of the implementation of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act.
Speaking passionately, Usman called on all Nigerians to recognize the pivotal moment and understand that as from January 17, discrimination against individuals with disabilities will no longer be tolerated in the country, explaining that once implemented, it will eradicate discrimination against any person with a disability.
Highlighting the primary purpose of the law, Usman expressed the desire for individuals with disabilities to stand shoulder to shoulder with their non-disabled counterparts across the country.
The Road Walk served as a platform to rally support and create awareness, fostering a nationwide understanding that the implementation of this law represents a significant step toward a more inclusive and equitable Nigeria.