From January 2024 onwards, Nigeria Federal Government plans to take strict action against establishments that fail to comply with the accessibility law for individuals with disabilities. All public and private buildings that violate these regulations may face closure. It is worth noting that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation has granted enhanced authority through a recent document unveiled, enabling the Commission to take decisive action in enforcing the law and regulations by sealing structures and imposing penalties. To ensure effective implementation, a dedicated task force has been established by the commission.
Dr. Betta Edu, Nigerian Minister in charge of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, revealed this information at a press conference held in Abuja by the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD). She emphasized that President Bola Tinubu’s administration fully supports the implementation of accessibility laws by the Commission. All Nigerians must come together for the responsibility to ensure that the applicable disability laws are put into action and enforced effectively, as stated by her. She argued that it is only fair and just that all buildings adhere to accessibility standards.
Nigerians share responsibility of enforcing the Disability Act.
Rather than punishing and isolating individuals with disabilities, we should strive to provide a friendly environment for them. Unfortunately, the majority of buildings lack wheelchair ramps, hindering easy access for those with mobility challenges. It is crucial that we extend our support towards enabling them to contribute more effectively towards the development of our nation, Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu has solidified the government’s determination to maintain Nigeria’s prominent position among nations championing comprehensive inclusion for persons with disabilities under the Renewed Hope Agenda.
As a demonstration, he has officially endorsed the Protocol to the African Charter on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. All Nigerians share the responsibility for ensuring that the Disability Act is fully implemented and enforced. It is not solely the responsibility of the federal government; rather, all levels of government (States and local) must take action to adopt and execute the Act. Also, support will be extended to the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in creating and implementation of a strong nationwide surveillance system to assess adherence throughout all governmental tiers and organizations.
It is time of “Renewed Hope” for over 35.5 million PWDs.
The Commission will be supported in developing channels for citizens and individuals with disabilities to voice their concerns to the government regarding the execution of the Disability Act. The time of discrimination, societal misconceptions, and negative attitudes towards Persons with Disabilities has come to an end. In fact, it is a moment of “Renewed Hope” for more than 25 million persons with disabilities by empowering them to actively participate and positively impact our national development. Let us shift our perspective and eradicate the notion of considering them as burdens.
In his remark, Dr. James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, voiced his concern over the prevalent discrimination faced by people with disabilities (PWD). However, he praised the efforts of President Tinubu and Dr. Edu for bringing joy to the lives of PWDs by introducing and executing policies and programs that prioritize their welfare. He was also thrilled over the current government’s action of revamping the disability legislation that had been passed five years ago but never put into effect or adopted. The period of implementation has finally arrived and, come January, the commission’s complete mobilization will ensure that every aspect of the law is upheld, he stated.
Upholding the Disability law is crucial because it is their right.
Speaking, Hon. Bashir Dauda, the Chairman of the House Committee on Disabilities, said upholding the Disability law is crucial because it is their right, and called for its full execution. The act comprehensively covers numerous aspects of the lives of PWDs, encompassing education, healthcare, and employment. Now, Nigeria has firmly established legal measures that impose penalties should any form of discrimination be directed towards individuals with disabilities. Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein, the Accountant General of the Federation, along with various development partners who backed the stance of the federal government, were present at the Press Briefing.