Group calls for urgent implementation of national disability Act
Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD) has decried the continuous exclusion from government programmes, policies and activities People Living With Disabilities (PWDs), calling for urgent implementation of the National Disability Act.
The group made the call during a one-day National Disability Dialogue organised to brief relevant stakeholders on the success, commitments, achievements, assessments and implementations of the National Disability Act in Lagos.
The Executive Director of CCD, David Anyaele, said the inclusion of PWDs in government’s programmes, policies and activities is essential to their personal and social development.
His words: “If we must say Nigeria is inclusive, it must begin with the Federal Government, state governments and the private sector. They must remove all forms of barriers that hinder people with disabilities from participating in society.
“What we have done or what we are doing today is to present to Nigerians the extent of the implementation of the National Disability Act. We are sharing today a report that focuses on Nigeria, our disability, assessment of compliance and implementation of the National Disability Law.”
Anyaele stressed that certain barriers should be removed for the inclusion and acceptance of people with disabilities in society to improve their standard of living, alleviate poverty and provide equal opportunities.
“Barriers have to deal with areas where there is no access to public buildings, toilets, accessible stairs, handrails or lifts. There is a barrier already where the individuals from our African perspective see PWDs as not worthy to participate in society.
“Where there are no government policies or programmes that address the needs of persons with disabilities, there is a barrier,” he said.
He added that when government programmes, policies and activities do not track disability issues, PWDs would not benefit and their poverty level continues to increase.
These, he said, are the barriers that must be removed, if Nigeria must say that it promotes equal opportunity.
A Professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos State (UNILAG), Omololu Shoyombo, noted that the level of knowledge about the national disability law is still relatively low even among PWDs.
“The level of knowledge and awareness is low and then secondly, compliance with the provisions of the law is also very low. Infrastructure and various public facilities hardly meet the needs of PWDs.
“Various provisions of the law are also still not been implemented. My recommendation in this regard is that there is a need for more advocacy so the level of awareness can be increased, people, agencies and organisations that have something to do with this can also be more alive to their responsibilities and do what they are required to do so that the standard of living of PWDs can be significantly improved,” Shoyombo said.