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Centre Urges Buhari To Sign Disability Bill

The Centre for Citizens with Disability (CDD) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the Disability Bill to ensure the full integration of People with Disabilities (PWDs) into the society.

The Executive Director of CDD, Mr David Anyaele, made the call while addressing newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

Anyaele said that the Bill when signed into law would guarantee the rights and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities in the country.

“It is our belief that signing the Bill into an Act will go a long way to ameliorate the challenges that confront persons with disabilities into equal opportunities like other countries in Africa.’’

Anyaele expressed concern that Nigeria had no legal framework on issues of disabilities since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed by state parties on March, 2007.

“Nigeria ratified this convention on September 24, 2010 with its optional protocol.

“The Federal Government is however, yet to put in place an appropriate legislation for the operationalization of the provisions of the convention.

“Nigeria has also not met its reporting obligations to the committee established under Article 34 of the convention requiring Nigeria to report every two years, the extent of its implementation of the provisions of the protocol.

“Importantly, Nigeria is yet to comply with the provision of section 12 of the Nigerian constitution which provides that a treaty cannot come into force until passed into law by the National Assembly.’’

He recalled that several moves made in the past under successive administrations in Nigeria to pass the Disability Bill could not succeed.

“Such Bills have scaled through the processes at the National Assembly but have been unsuccessful, especially at the point of obtaining the Presidential assent.’’

“Some salient features in the revised Bill include criminalising any form of discrimination against PWDs and ensure promotion of public awareness on their rights.

Others are making provision for accessibility to public buildings and related facilities, provision for a five-year period within which all public buildings and structures are to be adaptable for use by PWDs.

“Accessibility to transportation including road, sea ports, railways, air and related facilities.

“Protecting the liberty of PWDs and criminalizing their use in alms begging as well as making provision for all aspects of their educational and health care needs.

“Also to provide necessary assistive devices and provision for public organizations to employ at least 5 per cent of PWDs in their employment.

“And provision of adequate standard of living and social protection in terms of accommodation alongside encouragement of PWDs in politics and public life,’’ Anyaele said.

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