On the Second Day of the celebration of the 2nd Anniversary of the Nigeria Disability Act, the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities(CCD) engaged Professional groups and MDAs saddled with the responsibility of creating access to public infrastructures.
The Executive Director of CCD, Mr. David O. Anyaele in his opening speech said that the essence of this celebration is to look at our struggle for 18 years, a struggle that started in the year 2000 until 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari signed the disability bill into law. The success of the enactment of the disability act has open up space for access, participation, and inclusion of people with disabilities in every facet of human life in Nigeria.
“Today we will be having an interface with Professional groups on issues around access to public buildings in Nigeria, your ability to access your environment will determine your ability to contribute to the socio-economic well-being of Nigeria” he added.
He added also that access to public infrastructures is access to the economy, access to livelihood, and also access to opportunity, if PWDs do not have access to public infrastructure, it means that they are not included.
He further stated the passage of the National Disability Act which prescribed that all public infrastructures should be made accessible and five years grace was given for this to be done.
The event which has both zoom participants and physical participants witnessed the presence of the former permanent secretary of Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Ifeoma Nkiru Anabogu, Haijah Amina Salihu, Prof. Jubrin Isa Diso, Prof. Mutiullah A.O, Barr. Okey Kanu, Sam Obiefuna, Theophilus Odaudu, Program Officer, Disability Rights Fund, Mr. Obinna Ekujereonye, Agbo Chris Obiora, and many others.
Hajiah Amina Salihu speaking on the efforts of the Technical Working Group(TWG) on Disability headed by Mr. David Anyaele. She said that TWG after carrying out their research found out there is no data of persons with disabilities.
She also said that the group while engaging other groups try to know if they are looking at gender, equity, and Inclusion.
She advised that the Disability Community take cognizant of the 3 core questions, impact, participation, and resources.
The Disability Community should also the challenges of COVID-19 to raise its profile.
She said that in order to enhance the socio-economic wellbeing of people, power should be given to the people, they should have access to their environment, there should be equal opportunity for all to thrive and they should be able to take absolute control of their lives.
Mrs. Ifeoma Anabogu while speaking at the event said that they were able to achieve all they achieved because the then Minister of Women Affairs, Haijah AlHassan (Mama Taraba) gave them a free hand.
She called on MDAs to identify their roles in Nigeria Disability Act and ensure implementation. Media houses should ensure that they have sign language interpreters in their programs.
It is disheartening to see our train stations are not accessible and many of the public buildings are still not accessible two years after the act came into being.
She urges Disability Community to come together now and also reach out to other groups in order to build alliances that will help in the implementation of the act.
She advised that the group develop a strategy through input from within and that of some friends, it doesn’t require a consultant and try to engage all the MDAs and agencies saddled with the responsibility of implementing the act.
She offered to assist whenever she is called upon because now she has more time for herself having retired from the service.
Arc. Simon Abashe from the Federal Ministry of Work while speaking at the event informed that his ministry is not in charge of the public infrastructures in the FCT, it is the responsibility of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) so CCD findings that 95percent of public buildings are not accessible rest on the shoulder of FCDA.
He said that all the buildings under the care of the Ministry of Works are always completed with all the major facilities that would make them accessible but when such buildings are handed over, the agencies may not maintain them.
He offered to assist the group to engage his ministry to rejig monitoring to ensure compliance in accordance with National Disability Act in all their buildings.
TQM learned that the group would be engaging relevant ministry and agencies such as Transport Ministry and Aviation who we learned got the invitation for this meeting but they didn’t come as well as agencies such FCDA to get them to understand the roles and responsibilities in the implementation of the act.
Mrs. Ifeoma Anabogu was honoured in that event for her contribution towards ensuring that the Presidency sees reasons to append their signature on the Nigeria disability bill to become an Act.
“It was her effort and that of her colleagues that got Disability Community where they are today because if they advised the authority otherwise, we would have found ourselves going back to square one. God bless you Ma for your kindness, we are honouring you for your contribution and asking more from you even though you have retired but you are not tired”, Mr. David Anyaele said while the award is being presented to her.
Source: The Qualitative Magazine