The Federal Government of Nigeria has said they will go after organization and offices – public and private that are violating the accessibility laws for People With Disabilities PWDs in the country. That is organisations or workplaces without disability-friendly structures.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, disclosed this during the end-of-year press conference organised by the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities or NCPWD held in Abuja, where she said the exercise will begin next January 2024.
Dr Edu said the effective implementation and enforcement of the relevant disability laws is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians, not only resting on the shoulders of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in the Ministry.
“Every building must comply. Why should we punish and exclude Persons with Disabilities, most buildings don’t have a ramp that allows people on wheelchairs to access their workplaces easily, we must support them to do more for Nigeria,” she averred.
The Minister noted that with the support and backing of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Commission will not hesitate to deal decisively with such non-compliance organisations or workplaces.
“To demonstrate the resolve of the government to ensure that Nigeria continues to rank among nations with a strong commitment to the total inclusion of PWDs under the Renewed Hope Agenda, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) has Signed the Protocol to the African Charter on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“The full implementation and enforcement of the Disability Act is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians, It is not what the federal government can do alone, all other levels of government (States and local) also need to domesticate and implement the Act.
“The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities will be supported to develop and administer a robust national monitoring mechanism to measure compliance across all levels and institutions of government.
“The Commission will also be supported to develop citizens feedback mechanism to allow PWDs and other members of the public to provide feedback to the government on their concerns with the implementation of the Disability Act.
“The era of all forms of discrimination against, negative social and cultural perception of, and attitudes towards Persons with Disabilities is over. It is indeed an era of ‘Renewed Hope’ for the over 35.5 million persons with disabilities to become assets and contributors to our national development and never again to be seen as liabilities in our society.”
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr James Lalu lamented discrimination against People With Disabilities. He, however, commended President Tinubu and Dr Edu for putting smiles on the faces of PWDs through the initiation and implementation of pro-PWD policies and programmes.
He expressed delight that the present administration has given a flip to the disability law passed five years ago but was never implemented or domesticated.
“The era of enforcement is here, by January, the commission is expected to move out in full force to make sure that the provisions of the law are properly enforced,” he said.