Dr. Betty Edu (2 nd L) at the conference
The Federal Government has threatened to shut down all public and private buildings in Nigeria that violate the accessibility law on the movement of persons with disabilities.
To ensure compliance, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has set up task force to commence enforcement on January 16, 2024.
A release by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister, Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair, said that a document launched a few days ago empowers the Commission under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to move forcefully in the enforcement of the law and the regulation with powers to seal buildings and apply penalties. A task force has been set up by the commission to effect the enforcement.
Nigeria’s Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, made this known during the end-of-year press conference organized by the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) at Abuja.
The Minister said the Commission received the full backing of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in the implementation of the accessibility laws.
According to her, the effective implementation and enforcement of the relevant disability laws is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians as “every building must comply. Why should we punish and exclude Persons with disabilities? Most buildings don’t have a ramp that allows people on wheelchairs to access their workplaces easily, we must support them to do more for Nigeria.
“To demonstrate the resolve of the government to ensure that Nigeria continues to rank among nations with a strong commitment to the total inclusion of People With Disabilities (PWDs) under the Renewed Hope Agenda, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has signed the protocol to the African Charter on Rights of Persons with Disabilities
“The full implementation and enforcement of the Disability Act is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians, It is not what the federal government can do alone, all other levels of government (states and local) also need to domesticate and implement the Act”.
She said “the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities will be supported to develop and administer a robust national monitoring mechanism to measure compliance across all levels and institutions of government.
“The Commission will also be supported to develop citizens feedback mechanism to allow PWDs and other members of the public to provide feedback to the government on their concerns with the implementation of the Disability Act.
“The era of all forms of discrimination against, negative social and cultural perception of, and attitudes towards Persons with Disabilities is over. It is indeed an era of “Renewed Hope” for the over 35.5 million persons with disabilities to become assets and contributors to our national development and never again to be seen as liabilities in our society”
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. James Lalu lamented discrimination against PWDs but however, commended President Tinubu and Dr. Edu for putting smiles on the faces of PWDs through the initiation and implementation of pro-PWD policies and programs.
He expressed delight that the present administration has given a flip to the disability law which was passed five years ago but was never implemented or domesticated.
“The era of enforcement is here, by January, the commission is expected to move out in full force to make sure that the provisions of the law are properly enforced,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman House Committee on Disabilities, Hon. Bashir Dauda emphasized that the Disability law is the right of PWDs and called for its total implementation.
“The act addresses all sectors of life of persons with disability, from access to education to health, to employment. It is the law of Nigeria that if we discriminate against a person with a disability, there are sanctions”.