The Federal Government has called on the state governments that are yet to domesticate the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (PWD) Prohibition Act to do so to save them from discrimination, abuses and exploitation.
Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja in her keynote address at the meeting of the Director, Special Needs in the Ministry with 36 State Directors Responsible for the Rehabilitation of PWDs in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Farouq was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Bashir Nura Alkali.
“You will recall that in early 2019, the present administration signed into law, the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability Prohibition Act after suffering many years of setback.
“The Act is to provide for full integration of PWDs into the society which led to the establishment of National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWD).
“The Commission is vested with the responsibility for education, health care, social-economic and civil rights of PWDs and other related matters.
“I, therefore, call on states that are yet to domesticate the Act to do so without delay.
“This will save PWDs from discrimination, abuses and exploitation, and it would enhance a better life for them,” Farouq said.
The minister further explained that the Act prohibits discrimination and strengthens awareness programmes, adding that it also gives rights to the accessibility of physical structure roads, etc to PWDs.
She also stated that the Act gives liberty, rights to education, health and first consideration in queues, accommodation and emergencies to PWDs.
“Also, it gives PWDs an opportunity for employment, participation in politics and public life
“It is therefore assumed that this forum will accord us all the opportunity to rub minds and come up with concrete steps towards ensuring that the disability community gets our best,” Farouq said.
Meanwhile, the Director of Special Needs in the Ministry, Mrs Nk Buechi Onwukwe, said the Federal Government would continue its efforts to conquer discrimination and other challenges faced by PWDs.
Onwukwe said the objectives of the meeting include the provision of a platform for experience sharing, brainstorming and learning lessons on issues affecting the welfare of PWDs.
“Other objectives are the provision of an update on the implementation of the 2019 National Council on Women Affairs and Social Development held in Akure.
“The objectives include ensuring uniform approach to dealing with new and emerging challenges faced by PWDs for prompt and effective responses to such challenges, reinforcing the existing synergy between different agencies of government at all levels, local and international NGOs, faith-based organisations and others in the implementation of the Act,” Onwukwe said.
In his goodwill message, the Executive Secretary of NCPWD, Mr James Lalu, appreciated Farouq and President Muhammadu Buhari for all they are doing for the disability community.
Lalu noted that the meeting was a smart idea and requested that it should be an annual event.
“I can see that we can translate this meeting into a National Council on Disability.
“It could avail us the opportunity to bring about national policies. We are grateful for the maximum support from the ministry,” he said.
Speaking, Mr Pius Ugbo Sunday, Head of Programmes and Operations of The Leprosy Mission, Nigeria, said the organisation is ready to collaborate with government and NGOs to help the disability community.
Similarly, Mrs Esther Bature, the Country Advocacy Coordinator of Sight Savers, said the organisation has been doing a lot of programmes for the PWDs in Jama Local Government of Kaduna State and would continue to render its service across the country.
NAN reports that the meeting brought together relevant stakeholders from 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. (NAN)