By Adetutu Sobowale,
The Center for Citizens with Disabilities has lamented the exclusion of Persons with Disabilities in governance.
CCD said there is a need for PWDs to be given government and political appointments in the present administration.
The Executive Director, CCD, David Anyaele, made the call on Thursday, during a media briefing in Lagos.
Anyaele lamented the disability community being marginalised in governance, especially in the areas of political and government appointments.
The PWDs are still being marginalised and we call for inclusion and social equity for PWDs.
“It is disheartening that out of over 30 million PWDs in Nigeria, the administration has not found any competent PWD to serve in the government.
“We demand inclusion; it is our right. Give us political appointments; PWDs can make a positive impact in governance if given the opportunity,” he said.
The CCD boss noted that President Bola Tinubu, in his first national broadcast on June 12, 2023, in commemoration of Democracy Day, stated that his “government shall be faithful to truth, equity, and justice, as well as exercise authority and mandate to govern with fairness, respect for the rule of law, and commitment to always uphold the dignity of all”.
“We are seriously concerned that the leadership of the National Assembly, both the Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives, did not appoint any person with a disability as aide,’’ he said.
Anyaele said the exclusion of PWDs in administrative offices could be viewed as a marring the full implementation of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, the National Policy on Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“As a result, the CCD in its manifesto, demands full implementation and compliance to the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.
“The inclusion of PWDs to benefit from the ongoing palliative distributions, prioritising of issues of persons with disabilities in operations, programmes, activities, and communications of all civil society organisations and development partners, and mainstreaming of disability issues into government policies and programmes.’’
He, however, appealed to the President to uphold his commitment to fairness, equity, and justice for all Nigerians, including persons with disabilities, as the mandate remained “Leave no one behind”.
He also appealed to the media to report more on issues affecting PWDs.
He added that the news conference was part of CCD’s ongoing project titled: “Enhancing Access to Justice, Democratic Governance and Political Participation for Persons with Disabilities”, with support from Voice Nigeria, Oxfam.
Through the project, he said CCD had been able to enhance the knowledge of election management bodies and other stakeholders on the challenges of PWDs’ participation in politics, governance, and electioneering processes.
He said that CCD achieved engagement of PWDs as ad-hoc staff of INEC during the 2023 General Elections and appointment of a Disability Desk Officer by the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) during CCD advocacy visit to the Commission.
“The project also achieved increased media awareness of the inclusive electioneering process for PWDs.
“It established an online communication channel for relevant stakeholders to converge and interact on ways to foster communication around inclusive participation of PWDs in politics and governance.
“It secured commitment and collaboration with security agencies, INEC, LASIEC, and IPAC on promoting a more inclusive, equitable, and accessible justice system for PWDs in Lagos State.
“PWDs cascaded lessons learned on this project to other PWDs in their local governments,’’ he said.