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Persons with disabilities seek assent to bill


PERSONS with disabilities in the country have expressed concern at President Goodluck Jonathan’s alleged delay in signing into law the Persons with Disabilities Bill.

Head of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, David Anyaele, wondered why the bill, already passed by the National Assembly, was being withheld from becoming an active law.

Speaking in Abuja yesterday at a media advocacy strategy towards a presidential assent to constitution amendment, organised by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Anyaele lamented that three similar bills on disability, which were passed in 2003, 2007 and 2011, suffered similar fate in the hands of former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, and late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

“Why would this all-important bill for the disabled like us suffer the fate of the last three bills? We are becoming dissatisfied over the attitude to our welfare,” he stated.

“This is a bill that would reduce the burden of persons with disabilities by 50 per cent. We would be happy with President Jonathan if he signs the bill as part of his transformation agenda.”

PLAC Executive Director, Clement Nwankwo, who also expressed concern at the plight of persons with disabilities, said the blame should be squarely on the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, who has not done enough to set a legislative agenda that President Jonathan could work with.

Recalling how the Public Procurement Bill and Fiscal Responsibility Bill suffered similar fate when Obasanjo was president, he urged the authorities to take a cue from the United States’ President, Barack Obama, who has put in place legislation geared towards implementing his immigration and healthcare policies.

At the event, where salient issues relating to the amendment of the constitution were discussed, Nwankwo said it behooves media practitioners to bring to the front burner the need for the president to sign into law the amendments effected in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act, which the National Assembly recently endorsed.

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