PWDs decry exclusion from sanitation services
• Say Nigeria Can Only Be Open Defecation Free If ‘No One Is Left Behind’
A coalition of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) for Persons With Disability (PWDs) said they have been marginalised in the provision of sanitation services, especially toilets.
At a roundtable meeting in Abuja organised by Toilet Pride, in partnership with Christoffel Blinden Mission (CBM), on mainstreaming disability in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Chief lead of Toilet Pride, Mr. Chukwuma Nnanna said government and all stakeholders in sector need to carry along individuals with disabilities because they have special needs that require to be addressed, even as Nigeria strives towards an open defecation free status by 2025.
He said the aim of the clean Nigeria campaign that was recently launched by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was to ensure that all Nigerians, which include people with disabilities, have access to toilets, which can really be achieved with the provision of special toilets and other needs for PWDs captured in the national plan.
“It is important to capture the needs of everyone, especially people with disabilities. We need to revisit sanitation and see how WASH facilities become inclusive. Even in Hotels, hospitals and government offices, toilets are built without consideration for people with disabilities,” he said.
Executive Director of CBM, Bright Ekweremadu, represented by Humanitarian Programs Specialist of the organisation, David Sabo, said access to toilets by people with disabilities is very critical to the drive for an open defecation free country because most of the toilets in Nigeria are not accessible to these group of individuals.
Acting coordinator of Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet Campaign, Mrs. Chizoba Okpara said the meeting is an opportunity for government to key in and make special consideration and provision for people with disabilities, especially in the area of toilets they can use without difficulty.
Patricia Pam, a person with disability expressed concern that PWDs are not represented in any decision making body of government when it comes to the provision of facilities such as toilets in public places.
She said it has made life more difficult for many of them. She called for inclusion of PWDs in the decision-making processes.