FNSB seeks blacklisting of firms engaged in discriminatory practices
To give people with disability a level playing ground in employment consideration, the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind (FNSB), has called on the Federal Government to provide incentives for private sectors, as part of contributions to people with disability, and blacklist organisations that discriminate against disable persons.
Speaking at a workshop titled, ‘Harvesting the Fruit of the Disability Act and State Law,’ at the Vocational Training Centre, in Oshodi, Lagos, legal practitioner and member of executive council, FNSB, Lanre Adebayo, said people with disability are human beings that are not inferior to any other human being.
“The greatest asset of any nation is its human capital, because with its human capital, all other aspects can be well-developed and conversely; and if you abandon the human capital then you have killed all other factors. If we agree that disabled people are human, then we should ask ourselves should we leave them to continue to be parasites and mere liability to the rest of the nation or should we bring them on board, integrate them, tap their potential and harness them into the scheme of social and national development?’’
If we agree that we should harness persons with disabilities into the schemes, then of course, we should be conscious of the various discrimination, and stigmatisation that stand in the way of persons with disability, and allow them contribute their own quota to the development of the nation,” he stated.
He argued that the first step of getting rid of discrimination against a disabled person is through the Disability Act.He added: “Orientation, changing our attitudes are also very important because there are some things the law cannot do; the law cannot force a person discriminating against a disabled person when it comes to marriage but if we have the right attitude, then we will know that a person with disability can be better than the other people out there.”
On the Disability Act, Adebayo, who is also member of Board of Governors, Vocational Training Centre for the blind, said: “We must appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the bill into law, because presidents before him chickened away from taking that bold step. He is also the first President to appoint SSA on Disability Affairs, this brings it to the fore that disabled persons should be considered by virtue of their qualification, their talents and their experience, and I think the law is also aiming at putting in place what we may call reverse discrimination.”
He continued: “The government should also move forward in providing incentives that will encourage employers to think of qualified persons with disability; we cannot hide from the fact that it is expensive to employ a person with disability when you think of the facilities, although, I must say that all the places that I have worked, nobody has given me any special facility or treatment. In my over 30 years of work experience, I’ve had to improvise, adapt, and force my way through everything.
“If I’m to seek an amendment to the disability law, I would say that where there are vacancies, priority should be given to qualified persons with disabilities over their counterparts who are not disabled, and without necessarily waiting for vacancies, persons with disability must be adequately informed in the regular recruitment exercises. The government should provide incentive to private sectors and blacklist those who discriminate against people with disabilities.”
Similarly, member, Lagos State Board for Disability Affairs (LASODA), Dr Adebukola Adebayo, said: “The Lagos State Government has done well to a large extent by establishing the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs. We need to improve on the use of technology in driving the disability law in Lagos; we need to improve on our inclusive education programme and access to health for persons with disability.”
Adebayo who is also a Disabilities and Inclusive Development consultant, added, “if we are implementing a disability programme, we adopt a twin track approach, either it is a standalone that specifically targets persons with disabilities or that targets everybody and people with disability will also benefit.”
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