Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Calls on the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 to Ensure an All Inclusive Lockdown Guideline
Recall that President Mohammadu Buhari pronounced in a nationwide broadcast on Monday 27th of April, 2020 that the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on Covid-19 would provide implementation guidelines on the new measures to control Covid-19 pandemic.
Recognizing that the PTF on Covid-19 had on April 30, 2020 issued general information to the public, guideline to States and Security Agencies, and Description of the type of activities allowed under phase 1 of gradual easing of the lockdown in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the Federal Capital Territory effective from Monday, May 4, 2020.
Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is worried that the general information on new measures on Covid 19 pandemic is silent on accessibility, attitude, communication, transportations, participation and protection of persons with disabilities from the general public with regards to containing Covid-19 pandemic.
CCD is concern that issues around citizens with disabilities’ access to mandatory provision of handwashing facilities/sanitizers in public places, priority access to places of economic activities and accessible isolation centres for persons with disabilities were omitted.
Similarly, issues around persons with disabilities’ usage of bus stops, motor parks, banks and financial institutions, government offices and other corporate organizations among the key sectors that government are monitoring citizens compliance to the guideline on Covid-19 pandemic containment were missing in the guidelines.
What we can deduce from these guidelines is that PTF on Covid-19 are insensitive to the plight of persons with disabilities. Our observation shows that persons with disabilities are not among vulnerable groups earmarked to benefit from government palliatives and social intervention programmes, as such persons with disabilities lives does not matter.
We call on Mr. Boss Musapha led PTF on Covid-19 to review the guideline on relaxing the lockdown to ensure that issues of critical concern to PWDs in Nigeria are addressed. In particular we urge PTF-Covd-19 to activate relevant sections of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 in particular sections 25,26 and 27 of the Act which provides access and priority consideration of persons with disabilities in healthcare, queues, and emergency situations.
We also call on PTF on Covid-19 pandemic to mandate National Centre for Disease Control to create a dedicated hotline, ambulances, and transport facilities for persons with disabilities to enable them access information and routine medical checkups. The challenge of hunger in disability communities is getting worst by the day, as such priority attention is needed on access to food and other palliatives to ensure they are not left behind in the distribution of relief materials.
David O. Anyaele