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NASS okays establishment of disabilities’ commission

  • Passes bill on persons with disabilities

THE National Assembly has passed the Nigeria Disability Bill for the fourth time in order to ensure full integration of persons with disabilities into the society as well as remove perceived discrimination against them.

The bill which provided for the establishment of a national commission for persons with disabilities, will soon be presented to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent into law.

Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Mr David Anyaele, made this known on Monday in Abuja at a stakeholders’ meeting for the harmonisation of the two bills passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Participants at the meeting include opinion leaders in the disability community, members of the civil society organisations, faith based organisations, development partners, media organisations, among others.

Anyaele said the conference was an opportunity for participants to articulate and make practicable recommendations for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in Nigeria and for the assent of President Mohammadu Buhari on the bill.

He noted the bill, which was represented to the 8th National Assembly, had been passed three times by the successive NASS without presidential assent.

He commended the Senate President, Sen Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara as well as the entire member of the 8th session of the National Assembly for accelerated passage of the Nigeria Disability Bill for the 4th time.

He, however, appealed to the leadership of the National Assembly to fast track the final phase of the passage of the disability bill through the constitution of the Join Conference of the National Assembly on the bill before forwarding the harmonised copy for presidential assent.

Anyaele, appealed to President Buhari to ensure that the bill is assented into law as an anniversary gift for the 2016 International Day of Persons with Disabilities coming up on 3rd December.

He lauded the commitment of President Buhari’s led government on disability issues to the extent of making two appointments (Senior Special Assistant and Special Assistant) on disability matters, he said was a demonstration of the president’s political will for running inclusive government and promoting disability inclusion.

He noted Nigeria has the highest population of persons with disabilities in Africa, which estimated to be more that 25 million Nigerians with 80 per cent of them living in rural areas with minimal access to public infrastructures.

CCD Executive Director, expressed concern that despite efforts by the media and organisations of and for persons with disabilities in drawing the attention of state and none state actors on the deplorable situation of citizens with disabilities in Nigeria, only four (Plateau, Bauchi, Ekiti and Lagos) states in Nigeria have passed a law to protect the rights and dignity of citizens with disabilities in Nigeria.

He noted that the bill when assented into law, the burden on persons with disabilities would be reduced by 50 per cent.