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Need for domestication of the Disability Act

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By Mercy Kelani

Solving problems associated with PWDs will help Nigeria achieve the SDGs.

On September 22, 2022, a non-governmental research organization, Africa Polling Institute (API), expatiated on reasons why domesticating Disability Act is vital to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria. Given that it has the ability to provide speedy solutions to the various problems confronting the wellbeing of people with disabilities across the country. The organization emphasizes on the effectiveness of the domestication of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability Act (2018) to the seamless achievement of the SDGs.

During the launch of the ‘National Disability Data in Nigeria Report’ which was held in Abuja, API stated that the report is essential to the Nigeria Disability Research Project, carried out by API in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and supported by Ford Foundation; it is a project that was organized for the development of a reservoir of Data of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria. Lack of Data for PWDs was also highlighted to be a negative factor contributing to the challenges faced by these set of Nigerians.

The API, with grant from Ford Foundation visited the disabled community.

The Acting Executive Director of API, Dr. Olugbenga Ogunmefun stressed the urgency for the Federal Government and the Private Sector to begin the enhancement of functionality and Productivity of Nigerians living with disabilities whose potential had been undermined and neglected. However, there would be a drastic change of the narrative if an intentional effort is made towards domesticating the Act in all states of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Prior to the launch of the report, steps have been taken towards the gathering of data.

The API, in 2021, had a grant from the Ford Foundation to visit the disabled community for the purpose of gathering data and conducting action research. These steps, which were taken in regard to the domestication of the Disability Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, birthed four reports at the end of the exercise. The first report centered on the Action Research which is related to the reasons why states have refused to domesticate the Act and the challenges and differences in its application.

Only 13 states in the country have domesticated the Act.

The second report has ties with sexual and gender-based violence and violence against persons living with disabilities; the third report has to do with the integration of indicators into the national survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics with about 56,000 sample size; the fourth and last report is the formulated tool by the API lead consultant to be used within public and private sectors for the enablement of the inclusion of persons living with disabilities.

The Action Research revealed that as at the time of the research, some states lacked political will to domesticate the Act, which left them with 13 states of the 36 states in the country that have domesticated the Act. It was also discovered that there are constraints on the path of disabled Nigerians. However, the recently developed tool will help MDAs and private institutions to ensure inclusiveness for Nigerians living with disabilities. The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Lagos State University, Prof. Elias Wahab stressed the need for the promotion of an inclusive society, given that about five of the SDGs pertain to persons with disabilities.

There should be constant awareness and sensitization programs of PWDs.

In addition, the provision of access to equal education, science and innovation, good employment and quality way of life for every Nigerian, regardless of any form of disability, will be of great benefits to Nigerians. The government is therefore advised to ensure states domesticate the Act and implement it to establish the rights in place of people with disabilities. A Consultant to API, Dr. Israel Balogun, also raised alarm concerning constant awareness and sensitization programs, publicizing the conditions and barriers of PWDs for Nigerians to respect and provide them with a sense of belonging.


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