…Advocates inclusion, legislation and implementation of the law…
By Abisola Ariwodola,
The Joint Association of Persons with Disability: JONAPWD, Society For Life Changers And Good Parental Care: SoLife, Festus Fajemilo Foundation: FFF, and Community Advancement Initiative for Self Reliance: CAI4SR, have called on Osun Governor Adegboyega Oyetola to Assent the Disability Law of the state.
This is as the non-governmental organizations advocated for inclusion of Persons with Disability and also calls out to the Osun State House of Assembly under the leadership of the Speaker, Rt Hon Timothy Owoeye for the legislation and implementation of the Disability Law through the Ministry of Justice.
The disability focused organizations, who pointed out that Persons with Disability are also part of the society and should be protected because of their status, made this known at a Press Conference held at the Conference Hall of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ Press centre Osogbo.
In his opening remarks, Osun Chairman of the Joint Association of Persons with Disability, Mr Oluwafemi Stephens appreciated the frontline NGOs that are supporting the persons with disability in the state, he added that the whole world is watching and it’s time for Osun to make history and sign the Disability Law into existence.
In their words, the former Osun JONAPWD Chairman, Mr Kehinde Onitiju, and the JONAPWD female coordinator, Mrs Funmilayo Abdullahi highlighted the history of the Disability bill starting as far back as 2002, the duo listed the challenges facing the persons with disability in the state as unemployment, stigmatization, discrimination by members of the public, and lack of access to basic facilities among others.
The Executive Director, Festus Fajemilo Foundation FFF, Mr Afolabi Fajemilo stressed that Osun state under the leadership of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola must domesticate the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, not as a mere action or obligation, but to show commitment towards promoting the rights of Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the state.
He added that a conducted survey made in 2012 indicates that there are 57,000 Persons with Disability in the state, and with an estimation of 4.7million as at 2016, PWDs population ranges at 700,000 going by 15percent disability per population of World Health Organization WHO.
Also, the Executive Director of Community Advancement Initiative for Self Reliance CAI4SR, Mrs Eni Ayeni opined that majority of the PWDs are unemployed, while those who are self employed lack financial capability, he stressed that some of them find it difficult to access public facilities such as hospitals, banks, shopping mall, and those in school lack access to equipment that aide learning.
She added that the Persons with Disability have rights just as able bodied persons, hence their entitlement to policies that will give them enabling environment, which is the global standard, and must be made imperative.
Similarly, the Chairman, Society For Life Changers And Good Parental Care SoLife, Ambassador Aremu Stephen Akinyele said Osun government must write their name in gold by assenting the Disability Act into law, just as the federal government have done at its level.
The SoLife Chairman who was represented by the Program Director, Mrs Adeola Falana also called on the media to be persons with disability friendly, she admonished the media to ensure that their office is accessible to PWD and also makes use of their portfolio to address cases of violence.
SoLife maintained that the Disability bill when passed into law will improve the social inclusion of Persons With Disability, give them access to Support services and also improve the right of PWDs.
The persons with Disability human rights organizations commended Osun government for the efforts made so far on the said bill, they used the medium to also appeal that the Governor of Osun State, see to the passing and effective use of the Disability bill in the state.
They also appealed to the government that the clean copy of the bill with the State Ministry of Justice through the Ministry of Youths, Sports and Special Needs, be transmitted, assented, presented to the assembly for speedy passage into law, adding that the Ministry of Justice in consultation with organizations of persons with disability in the state set up implementation framework to facilitate the implementation of the law.
The groups averred at the Press Conference that having the Disability Law in Osun will address multi-dimensional discrimination encountered by PWDs, improve rights, privileges and access of PWDs to services, and provide a clear and comprehensive legal protection and security for the PWDs in the state among others.