On Tuesday 16th November 2021, IFA held an Implementation review meeting of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 in Abuja. The meeting stem to review the implementation level of the disability law assented by President Mohammadu Buhari in 2019.
The meeting gathered stakeholders, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) dignitaries from various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for commendations, deliberations and collaborations for further engagements that will improve the implementation pace of the Disability Law.
In a welcome address, IFA’s Executive Director, Grace Jerry, acknowledge efforts by the government for establishing the disability law and the implementation efforts by government MDAs and further charged for more collaboration with various stakeholders to see the effectiveness and implementation of the Act going forward.
“…The Access Nigeria Campaign wishes to use this medium to appreciate the 8th Assembly for passing this law and President Mohammadu Buhari for signing it into law in January 2019.”
“… Let me state clearly that the efforts of all implementing MDAs are not unnoticed and with emphasis to that, this meeting is not to witch-hunt any MDA but rather to celebrate gains made, document challenges and pave wat for collaborations for adequate implementation of the Disability Law to better the lot of the over 30 million PWDs. I therefore urge participants to be open and frank for effective deliberation as the communique of this meeting will serve as a road map for collective action by OPDs, relevant MDAs and other stakeholders for the effective and efficient implementation of the Act going forward…”
Speaking also, Bem Aga (Program Director, National Democratic Institute) said that since 2016, NDI had been supporting the access Nigeria campaign to improve the political and socioeconomic rights of PWDs.
Aga buttressed that laws are passed to better the lives of citizens and especially the over 30 million Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria whose population is enough to determine presidential elections. He further calls for a collective action to see the effective and efficient success of the implementation processes of the disability law.
“…As Grace Jerry has mentioned, Nigeria has over 30 million persons with disabilities. Looking at the statistics, this is a population that can determine any presidential election. Its indeed a segment in society that cannot be overlooked. The National Democratic Institute is very proud this program is holding today because IFA led #AccessNigeria campaign has commissioned a very competent consultant in persons of Barr. Daniel Onwe to conduct a survey on the implementation of this law since its passage in 2019.”
“We hope to have fact possessions as partners with the relevant government MDAs that are saddled with the implementation of this law, to ensure that IFA and their allies are able to move with the government together. Holding hands to undertake collective action that must happen to ensure that this Act is implemented effectively and efficiently in the interest of Nigeria’s 30 million PWDs and the society at large…”
During the Act implementation review session, Barr. Daniel Onwe revealed that some Federal ministries Staff are ignorant about disability inclusion and have low knowledge about the Act. He further revealed that many have no PWD or a sizable number of PWDs in their offices. The little compliance on the area of accessibility of the buildings. The absence of ramps in some MDAs and where lifts were seen, there is an absence of audio messaging. Many of the MDAs have not been able to create reserved parking space for PWDs and their car parks are made accessible for Persons with Disabilities amongst other findings presented.
The meeting climaxed with an interactive panel section comprising of the various MDAs who revealed the level of implementation in their various offices and chatted a way forward that further enhanced the effective implementation of the disability law to which a communique was signed thereafter.