Some Nigerians on Sunday in Ibadan, Oyo State, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law, the bill prohibiting any form of discrimination against people living with disabilities.
Prime Post recalls that Buhari had on Jan. 23 assented to the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act.
They are Prof. Toheed Adedoja, former Minister of Sports and Provost, Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo and Prof. Julius Ademokoya, an expert in the field of Special Education.
Others are Mr Elijah Akinyemi, former Director, Special Education, Ogun State Ministry of Education; Mr Danlami Bashar, Interim Chairman, United Nations Committee on the Right of Persons with Disability and Mr Tajudeen Alade, former Deputy Director (News and Current Affairs), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Ibadan.
His Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Sen. Ita Enang, in a statement in Abuja, explained that the Act prohibits all forms of discrimination on ground of disability.
It imposes fine of N1, 000, 000 for corporate bodies and N100, 000 for individuals or a term of six months imprisonment for violation.
According to him, concurrently, it guarantees right to maintain civil action for damage by the person injured against any defaulter.
The Act also provides for a five-year transitional period within which public buildings, structures or automobile are to be modified to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including those on wheelchairs.
In separate interview with our source, they said that the long awaited law, would give the physically challenged persons in Nigeria, a sense of belonging.
Commenting, Adedoja said that the law was a victory for the people living with disabilities in the country.
“In the past years, persons living with disabilities have suffered discrimination in education, employment, health and a lots more.
“I know that with the signing of this bill, persons living with disabilities in Nigeria will fully assert their rights to participate in the political processes and governance in the society,“ he said.
Adedoja, however, advised people with disabilities to claim their rights, saying, “if they don’t, no one will claim it form them”.
In his contributions, Ademokoya said that there was need to embark on massive sensitisation of members of the public on the law.
He said that people needed to be educated on the existence of the law, saying that disobeying it would attract penalty.
The special education expert said: “You see, Nigeria is very good when it comes to putting documents together, but implementation has remained a challenge.
“So, I would not like this to be one of those documents that will not be implemented.”
Also, Akinyemi said that the fundamental rights and principles of persons living with disabilities would be respected with the law.
He said that the physically challenged individuals could now be great contributors to the economy and in general nation building.
“We are happy now that there is a legal framework in place, whereby persons with disability who feel aggrieved can challenge the infringement of their rights at the law court, “he said.
In his comments, Bashar, Interim Chairman of United Nations Committee on the Right of Persons with Disabilities, said that Nigeria had taken the right step in the right direction.
He said that Nigeria had demonstrated its commitment to give people with physical challenges, a voice in the society.
Bashar said that the law had put the nation in the category of countries that meant well for the disabled persons.
According to Alade, the new law is, “a step in the right direction”.
He said that if the law was fully implemented occupational and general welfare of persons with disability would be taken care of.