Reps pledge implementation of Disability Act

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By Oladisun Amosun

The House of Representatives committee on Disability Matters has condemned in strong terms the impunity with which public and private institutions undermine efforts to implement the Disability Act 2018, which fully came into force on January 18 2024 following the expiration of a 5-yr moratorium after its signing into law.

Committee Chairman, Rep Bashiru Ayinla Dawodu told newsmen in Abuja that the spate of reports on discrimination against Persons with Disabilities PWDs in the country has reached a stead, where the Committee is duty bound to investigate them and ensure full implementation of the Act.

According to Rep Dawodu, the Committee is engaging with stakeholders to kick start the full implementation and compliance of the disability policy, with assurance that key provisions such as access to public buildings, employment quotas and welfare promotion for persons with disabilities are enforced to ensure their rights are protected.

He emphasised that it was imperative for every commuter, including businesses, both public and private, to adhere to the provisions of the Disability Act, adding that compliance with the Act has been lacking since the grace period ended in January.

Rep Dawodu urged State Governments to domesticate the Disability Act, following the lead of Lagos State in raising awareness about Persons with Disability (PWDs)

He reiterated the committee’s resolve to closely monitor government agencies’ adherence to the law in various sectors such as recruitment, housing, transportation and healthcare.

He described recent reports on the denial of access to one Mr. Adebola Daniel at an eatery, ‘Kentucky Fried Chicken’ KFC outlet in the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos as one that brought the discrimination issue, once again to the forefront.

According to the Committee Chairman, “Mr. Adebola Daniel, son of former Ogun State Governor and serving Senator, a wheelchair user, was refused entry to the KFC outlet, with the Manager stating categorically ‘NO WHEELCHAIRS ALLOWED’ The treatment to him and others like him is unacceptable and goes against the principles of inclusivity and fundamental respect, and is in violation of the Disability Act.”

The Committee Chairman, a medical doctor by training, concluded that the House focus is on enhancing the lives of persons with disabilities and preventing incidents like Adebola Daniel’s through robust implementation of the Disability Act so as to combat discrimination and injustice against PWDs.