January 17, 2020 is the first anniversary of the passage of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, also known as the National Disability Act. The Act was passed by the 8th session of the National Assembly and assented to by President Mohammadu Buhari on the 17th of January 2019. The assent of the President to Act, which was made public on the 23rd of January, 2019 was a big relief to the disability community in Nigeria.
The Act contains provisions that ensure people with disabilities in Nigeria are protected against discrimination and harmful treatment, cruelty and inhuman treatment; access to the public building; protection at the situation of risk and humanitarian emergencies. Also, the law provided for the right of children with disabilities; right to health, education, work and employment, right to drive, right to communication, right to communal life, right to participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure/sport and National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to address complaints of harassment, discrimination and harmful practices amongst others. The Act further provides that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will be responsible for public awareness on the rights of persons with disabilities.
With the Act, it is a crime against the state to discriminate against any person with a disability in Nigeria which is key to rehabilitation and reintegration of persons with disabilities.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) with support from the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Program (RoLAC), British Council will be hosting a one-week event in Abuja to commemorate the anniversary from January 13 to 17, 2020. Activities line up for the week include:
- Interactive forum with Media Executives;
- Learning Lessons on Disability Rights Advocacy in Nigeria with CSO/OPDs;
- Experience Sharing with line MDAs and Committees of the National Assembly;
- Learning Lessons on Disability Rights Advocacy in Nigeria with the Diplomatic Community; and
The anniversary week will feature the unveiling of the “1st Disability Champion Awards” by Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). The Award is designed to recognize, honour and celebrate individuals and institutions that have contributed in promoting disability rights, independent living, inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in society on equal bases with other members of the society.
It will also feature the premiering a documentary that showcases 18 years effort by Organisations of Persons with Disabilities in securing national legislation for the protection of more than 25 million Nigerians with Disabilities from discrimination and other harmful practices.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is the premier organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote disability rights, independent living, inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in development agenda. CCD coordinated CSOs’ campaign for the passage of the National Disability Bill, now an Act.
David O. Anyaele