Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) have been neglected, relegated, and are constantly discriminated against on the ground of their disabilities in all spheres of human endeavors across the nation for several years, they also suffer all manners of pains as result of harmful practices.
Despite the fact that Nigeria is among the countries that signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Several administrations have come and gone without establishing any legal framework to protect and promote the rights and dignities of citizens with disabilities. This left PWDs to keep wallowing in pain behind the social walls of injustice and inequality erected and manned to continue oppressing PWDs.
As a result of the negligence, concerned and informed Nigerians with disabilities, Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and development partners took on the responsibility of crafting the bill and advocating for its passage at the National Assembly.
Several advocacies and lobbying attempts to get the bill passed were thwarted, as the government kept shying away from their responsibilities. The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) as the foremost disability-rights organisation led by Mr. David O. Anyaele took over the leadership mantle. And the coalition of disability organisations was formed and led to continuing advocating for the passage of the bill using new strategies peculiar to our clime.
President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act on the 17th of January 2019. This was the result of over 18 years of constant struggle. The Nigerian Disability Rights Act promotes and protects the rights and dignities of Nigerians with disabilities from discrimination and harmful practices. Finally, over 25 million PWDs heaved sighs of relief, as ray of hope appears on the horizon. As we celebrate the passage of our bill, the problem encountered by previous laws in the past walked in with a grime – the implementation problem.
A stitch in time, as they say, saves nine. As result of these activities, CCD took the bull by the horns and continue to strategically push for the implementation of the Act’s provisions while also holding duty-bearers accountable.
The annual commemoration of the passage of the Nigerian Disability Rights Act was born.
Aims of the Anniversary
The celebration aims to bring together major actors in the disability communities, duty-bearers, and other stakeholders to:
1) Review previous year’s activities and their impact on PWDs. Identify and build on success stories, as well as the gaps that continue to impede the Act’s adequate and proper implementation
2) Brainstorm on best and accepted practices to adopt in advocating for the Act’s full implementation.
3) To recognize and honor exceptional disability course champions.
1st Anniversary of the National Disability Rights Act 2020
1. Secured commitment from the Presidency and Office of the Secretary to the government of the Federation for the establishment of the National Commission on Persons with Disabilities
2. Established close ties with media executives for sustained engagement with policy makers to increase media reportage on disability issues
3. CSOs commit to partner with CCD for activities that will promote implementation of the Act, as CSOs present at the event made a commitment to mainstreaming of disability issues in their current programmes.
4. Ministries, Department, and Agencies present at the event demonstrate interest to prioritize disability issues, as the Centre Bank of Nigeria representative agrees to open access for engagement of their institution on access to banking halls and services in Nigeria.
5. Commitment from diplomats present at the event to support CCD’s work, as Embassy representatives directed OPDs to their platforms for possible areas to support disability work in Nigeria.
6. OPDs understanding of the provisions of the disability Act was enhanced. It was a daily presentation of the National Disability Act to participants majorly PWDs.
2nd Anniversary of the National Disability Rights Act 2021
1. The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) commits to sponsor the subsequent Anniversary of the Disability Rights Act Anniversary and use the platform to render an account of his stewardship to Nigerians.
2. OPDs understanding of the provisions of the disability Act was enhanced. It was a daily presentation of the National Disability Act to participants majorly PWDs.
3. The Chairman, House Committee on Disability Matters made a commitment to prepare, present and support legislation at the National Assembly that will guarantee equitable justice and inclusive society for persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
4. The Chairman and the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) made commitments to run an open and transparent commission that will be inclusive, fair and just to everyone.
5. Line MDAs, particularly, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing made a commitment to ensure all public buildings under the Ministry are accessible to all persons with disabilities by improving on the adjustments already commenced. It also made commitments to facilitate inclusion of persons with disabilities in housing projects under the Ministry and construct some housing units that will be accessible to PWDs.
6. Professional bodies, in particular Institute of Town Planners assured participants that efforts will be made in ensuring that the original plans of FCT with walkways are maintained and violators sanctioned.
7. CCD made commitments to double her efforts in creating awareness and holding programmes that will promote implementation of Disability Rights Act.