By Justina Auta
Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) have called on the government and stakeholders, to prioritise disability inclusion as a strategy to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
They made the call at a one-day consultation on mid-term review of disability inclusion in the implementation of SDGs organised by an NGO, Sightsavers Nigeria, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Dr Abdullahi Usman, National President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), called for bridging disability gaps and promoting good governance to address them.
“It is important to note that building an inclusive society goes beyond preparing PWDs for the workspace or providing them with skills.
“We are appealing to all relevant stakeholders both in public and private sector to accelerate action on the SDGs and ensure inclusion for PWDs.
“We all have equal rights to education, employment opportunities and health care, and the rights to have a say in the decisions that affect our lives,” he said.
He said Nigeria has an estimate of over 30 million PWDs, who are marginalised on the grounds of gender, poverty, age or other factors.
Mrs Esther Bature, Sightsavers Country Advocacy Coordinator, said the forum was for PWDs members in Nigeria to review mid-term implementation of the disability inclusion in the SDGs.Bature explained that the upcoming SDG summit, as part of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) scheduled for Sept.18 and 19 was an opportunity for the voices of PWDs in Nigeria to be heard.
He said that their voices would be heard in the implementation of all inclusive SDGs.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the voices of PWDs to be heard in the highest echelon.
“So we work with the JONAPWD to mobilise their members across the geopolitical zones, across disability clusters to come together and hold a consultation about the SDG implementation at the grassroots.
“This is to ensure that recommendations made to our government so that when they go to the SDG Summit, they will make commitments that are inclusive.
”According to her, Sightsavers has collaborated with the Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President on SDG (OSSAP-SDGS), in shadow reporting for the Voluntary National Review (VNR).
Dr Zakariya Mohammed, Deputy Director, OSSAP-SDGs, said the meeting was crucial toward ensuring inclusion in the implementation of the SDGs for PWDs. (NAN)