Disability law to grow parasports in Nigeria – Ekeoma

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By Emmanuel Afonne

Abuja, Jan. 26, 2021 The National Coordinator of Nigeria Para-Badminton, Sam Ekeoma, has expressed optimism that the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) will facilitate parasports development if well utilised.

Ekeoma said this on Tuesday in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.

He noted that the country would soon begin to benefit from international donors that have interest in issues concerning people living with disabilities.

These donations, he said, would trickle down to the disabilities commissions in the 36 states and FCT from where persons with disabilities can benefit whether for sporting or general purpose.

“The disability law will give room for international engagements and donors that have interest in issue concerning people living with disability to support them.

“International donors cannot come in where there is no policy that can guide whatever thing they are doing; that is why we are appealing to governors to ensure the law is effective in their states,” Ekeoma said.

Ekeoma who is also the Special Adviser on Disability Matters to Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, urged governors of the 36 states to enact laws on disability to ensure improved life for them.

He added, “President Muhammadu Buhari has structured the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.

“This means that phydically challenged persons now have a commission, and it is only states with the disability law that can really benefit from the activities of the commission.

“So, I am urging my governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, to work with the House of Assembly to ensure the law is enacted and the commission instituted in the state.

“With this, Abia and other states are able to liaise with the national office to see what they can do to help people living with disabilities in Abia and other parts of the country,” Ekeoma added.

Plateau, Lagos, Nasarawa, Ekiti and Anambra are states that have enacted laws on disability.

Naija247news reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had in August 2020 approved the composition of the NCPWD governing council and appointed the Executive Secretary of the commission, Dr Hussaini Kangiwa, as chairman.

Other members of the commission include Oparaku Jaja (South East), Philomena Konwea (South South), Omopariola Oluwasola (South West), Amina Rahma Audu (North West), Esther Awu (North Central) and Abba Ibrahim (North East).

The bill signed into law by President Buhari on Jan. 23, 2019 was passed by the 8th Senate on March 28, 2018.

The Disability Act seeks to criminalise discrimination against persons with disabilities among which are that the rights and privileges of persons with disabilities including education, healthcare, accommodation and emergencies must be given priority.

Other rights the law seeks to protect are “all public organisations are to reserve at least five per cent of employment opportunities for these persons.

“The Act gives citizens with disabilities the right to file a lawsuit for damage against any defaulter.

“It provides for a five-year transitional period within which public buildings, structures or automobiles are to be modified to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including those on wheelchairs, among others.”

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