By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja, Sept. 1, 2020 ActionAid Nigeria, a humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called for the establishment of Commission for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in states across the country as part of measures to end exclusion of the vulnerable population.
Ms Ene Obi, Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria,made the call in a statement signed by Lola Ayanda, Communications Coordinator of the NGO,and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Lokoja.
Obi said that with an estimated population of 25 million Nigerians living with disabilities, according to Human Rights Watch 2019, the need for the Commission was long overdue.
She said that as a humanitarian NGO working to combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria, ActionAid deemed it necessary and important to call on state governments to enforce, domesticate and replicate the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
The Country Director commended the Federal Government for establishing the Commission charged specifically with the responsibility of ensuring inclusion and welfare of PWDs as enshrined in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Law in Nigeria.
“We earnestly hope that the Commission, through its mandate will ensure that the education, healthcare and other social and economic rights of the people with disabilities contained in the 1999 Constitution and the Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be upheld.
“Also worthy of emphasis is the need to ensure that at least five per cent of all public appointments go to people with disabilities as backed up by the law supporting the establishment of the commission,”she said.
Obi said that only PWDs could proffer solutions to challenges facing them and “We call on governments at all levels to honour this provision of the law”.
She identified Key areas that require immediate attention as transformation of transport system to ensure adequate buses, stops and street lighting.
Others are recruitment of female transport staff, disability friendly public toilets and infrastructure that cater for their mobility and protection.
“ActionAid Nigeria therefore urges governments to leverage on additional revenue from closing tax loopholes to provide disability friendly public transportation and other public services.
“We call on state governments to expedite action in domesticating the Disability Commission as further delay will amount to great injustice especially at a time when the world is battling COVID-19, one of the most lethal pandemics in the history of mankind,” she added.