Mr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWD) says plans are underway to roll out a document to ensure minimum building accessibility standards for persons with disabilities (PWD).
Lalu disclosed this in his address of welcome at a 2-day Workshop on Developing the Minimum Accessibility Standard, organised by the commission in partnership with Sightsavers on Monday in Abuja.
The minimum accessibility standards were developed by Sightsavers through its Inclusive Futures Project as part of its disability confidence tool kit.
Lalu noted that there was an existing national building code in Nigeria but that it lacked an accessibility component and so, there was a need to develop a Manual that was disability-inclusive and accessible to PWDs.
“Our aim today is to develop minimum accessibility standards which have the guiding measurement for all physical buildings to adopt and this is in line with our mandate as a Commission set up by the President.
“The minimum accessibility standards come with an accessibility audit checklist in which companies can use for self-assessment prior to when the Commission will commence its enforcement.
“We believe in advocating for change and not just the punitive measures,” Lalu stressedSpeaking, the Country Director of Sightsavers, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, who was represented by Mr Rasak Adekoya, stated that the workshop was fashioned to support Private and Public Institutions to make their physical buildings accessible to PWD.
According to Isiyaku, the Disability Act makes it mandatory for all public buildings to be accessible.
“Before the five years grace period stipulated in the Act, the Commission could use this standard to guide Engineers, property managers and building owners to make their buildings accessible for all PWD”.
The event was funded by Sightsavers in partnership with the commission.
In attendance were stakeholders and officials from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, the Federal Ministry of Transport, The Nigerian Society of Engineers and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
Others were CSOs, Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, National Association of the Blind, FCT chapter and Disability Rights Fund and others. (NAN)