By Angela Atabo
Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), an organisation promoting rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), has called on government and the private sector to prioritise the implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act.
The Act prohibits all forms of discrimination against PWDs and promotes their rights and privileges in accessing employment, education, health care, accommodation and emergencies, among others.
Executive Director, IFA, Grace Jerry, said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)in Abuja that the full implementation of the Act would tackle the numerous challenges faced by PWDs.
Jerry said although the Act was enacted in 2018, it was yet to yield significant gains for PWDs.
“With regards to the implementation of the disabilities Act, I would say that we are not there yet and we are not satisfied yet.
“The process has begun, the establishment of the disabilities right commission is a step in the right direction; we no longer want the Act to be a document on the shelve, we want it to become our reality.
“It will be beneficial to these organisations to begin to act.
“Prioritising accessibility, prioritising employments, access to health, education and prioritising anything as regards a holistic approach to inclusion and access for persons with disabilities.”
According to her, the association has been reaching out to many organisations and working closely to prioritise disability issues and full implementation of the Act.
“We will not let them rest until it happens,” she said.
Also, Mr Agbo Christian, Executive Director, The Qualitative Magazine, said the disability law was a milestone for PWDs and advocacy groups.
“We used to advocate based on concession, we try to ask organisations, please can you consider to do this or do that for PWDs?
“Now, it is a matter of rights and we are out to actually sound it down to everybody’s ear that we have rights and these rights are human rights.
“We must do whatever we can in order for us to ensure that these rights are upheld,” he said.
Christian urged the media to step up on the promotion of the rights of PWDs, adding that the Act mandated the Minister of Information to create awareness around the law.
“However, this is not yet happening; we want to use this opportunity to call on the minister to, in accordance to that particular Act, begin to create this awareness.
“So that Nigerians will get to know their responsibilities within the act, because everybody have their roles and responsibilities in the act,” Christian said.
Mr Jide Ojo, Board member, IFA, called on the media to draw the attention of government and organisations to have a factsheet on the Disability Act .
Ojo said this was to highlight key elements and educate Nigerians on the Act.
“This is the season of electoral campaign and I will want to implore all the media organisations to as a matter of corporate social responsibility, provide space and sound bite for persons with disabilities.
“Media organisations should design programmes for PWDs and invite organisation of PWDs to discuss topics.
“This is because if you are looking at an inclusive country and a united Nigeria, you cannot discard the wish of about 30 million Nigerians which PWDs represent,” he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed