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Empowering Change: PWDs Continue to Battle Discrimination in Nigeria, NILDS, DG Calls for Urgent Action

In a compelling revelation, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, the Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS), shed light on the persistent discrimination faced by people with disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria. Addressing a public discourse in Abuja, he emphasized the prevailing challenges encountered by this community despite the existence of the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 and the enactment of disability laws in nine states.

Sulaiman passionately delved into the heart of the matter, unveiling the harsh reality of negative attitudes permeating family and community levels. From hurtful name-calling to ingrained negative beliefs, PWDs often grapple with rejection, neglect, and a loss of identity, fostering an environment that leads to low self-esteem, depression, and isolation.

The employment landscape paints a bleak picture for PWDs, with unemployment rates doubling that of the general population. Attitudinal, mobility-related, technological, and physical barriers, such as a lack of accessible workplaces, contribute to this staggering statistic. Sulaiman highlighted the financial burden faced by PWDs due to the expensive and limited availability of assistive devices, further hindering their mobility and access to technology.

The ripple effect of discrimination extends beyond socioeconomic realms, infiltrating the political sphere. PWDs encounter barriers in participating in the political process, from voting to being voted for, and face challenges securing appointments beyond those reserved for their community.

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In a resounding call to action, Sulaiman urged government officials, policymakers, decision-makers, and political parties, including the national assembly, to unite in addressing these pressing issues as a crucial aspect of national development.

As Nigeria strives for inclusivity and progress, the plight of PWDs stands as a stark reminder that a collective effort is imperative to dismantle discriminatory barriers and pave the way for a more equitable and compassionate society. The question now echoes: Will the nation rise to the challenge and champion the rights of those who have long been marginalized?

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