In a fervent plea against pervasive discrimination, persons with disabilities (PWDs) have rallied for the domestication of disability laws, decrying the alarming rates of bias or discrimination within society.
The impassioned leaders of this movement, backed by The Leprosy Mission Nigeria with funding from Liliane Fonds, recently took their advocacy to the heart of legislative power in Imo State.
On the 6th of February, 2024, the group found a receptive audience in the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chike Olemgbe.
Comrade Christian Obiora Agbo, the Executive Director of Qualitative Magazine who lead the group, spoke to reporters, emphasizing the significance of their visit and the backing from The Leprosy Mission Nigeria.
“We are here on an advocacy mission. We seek the Speaker’s understanding for the domestication of disability laws in Imo State,” he expressed.
“After our presentation, the Speaker pledged to thoroughly consider it, potentially leading to the law’s domestication following a public hearing’.
This legislation aims to ensure access to healthcare, education, employment opportunities, and transportation for persons with disabilities while penalizing discrimination against them. It’s about granting them the rights they deserve, including preferential treatment.”
Ambassador Iyke Ibeh of the African Hope Development Initiative highlighted the urgency of their cause, asserting, “The law, previously signed by former President Mohammadu Buhari, holds the key to curbing street begging and public nuisance. Governor Hope Uzodimma’s commitment to persons with disabilities fuels our optimism for swift domestication.”
Pastor Victor Ibegbulam, Chairman of the Albinism Community in Imo State, stressed the multifaceted challenges faced by PWDs and called for the rapid enactment of the law.
In response, the Chief Whip, Hon. Chigozie Nwaneri representing Oru East State Constituency who briefly stood in for the Speaker, conveyed the legislature’s commitment.
“The law will be presented during a plenary session, facilitating deliberations and potentially prompting a public hearing for additional insights.”
This pivotal advocacy signals a step forward in the quest for inclusivity and equal rights for persons with disabilities, echoing the resounding call for legislative action to break down discriminatory barriers in Imo State.