The Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) led Access Nigeria campaign and its partners’ and allies on Tuesday organized a workshop to review the level of implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 by MDAs.
It is part of IFA’s NDI supported project to enhance Disability Inclusion in all sphere of life.
Grace Jerry, the Executive Director, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), while speaking during the event, said that the meeting was all about celebrating gains or impact made, identify the gaps/challenges, document them, and develop the action plan for the way forward ensuring effective implementation of the Act.
She appreciated the effort of the 8th Assembly for passing the bill and also President Muhammadu Buhari for signing it into law in January 2019.
She also said that the review wasn’t meant to witch hunt any person, agency or group but to remind every critical stakeholder
“I like to welcome all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of Government (MDAs) present, Members of the National Assembly, Leaders of PWDs community, political party leadership, gentlemen of the press, the donor communities, and all other stakeholders present.
“No doubt that before the enactment of this law in 2018, there has been the absence of systems, structures and process that Accommodates Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in various spheres of life thereby depriving them access to and participation in public life on an equal basis with other citizens.
“Since 2016, the IFA led Access Nigeria Campaign and other campaigns led by other Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) have diligently advocated for the passage and enactment of the Disability Act law which is a reality today.
“The Access Nigeria Campaign wishes to use this medium to appreciate the 8th Assembly for passing this law and President Muhammadu Buhari for signing it into law in January 2019.
“We must also commend the President for establishing the National Commission for person with disabilities to run with the administration of the law, and for appointing a competent hand in the person of James Lalu as its Executive Secretary.
“Let me state clearly that the efforts of all implementing MDAs are not unnoticed and with emphasis that, this meeting is not to witch-hunt any MDAs but rather to celebrate gains made, document challenges, and pave way for collaborations in other to provide adequate implementation to better the lot of over 30 million PWDs.
“I, therefore, urge all participants to be open and frank for effective deliberation so that we can come up with a communique that will serve as a road map for collective action by OPDs, relevant MDAs and other stakeholders for the effective and efficient implementation of the act going forward.
“I will like to thank our partners the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for their technical assistance; and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for their unrelenting financial assistance for the Access Nigeria Campaign. The Disability community is most grateful for their support” she said.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Mr. James David Lalu ably represented by The Head of Media and Publicity NCPWD, Mbanefo JohnMichael I, said that the Commission is very proud of IFA and what they are doing to improve the lives of persons with disabilities.
He reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission to run an all Inclusive administration and they have been reaching out to different MDAs and they have getting some commitments from them.
He also said that the Commission is open for more partnership in order to change the narrative about persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
The consultant at the workshop, Barr. Daniel Onwe who is also the National President, Association of Lawyers With Disabilities in Nigeria (ALDIN) during his presentation about review of Discrimination against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 stated the findings from different MDAs in the implementation so far of the Disability Act in their offices.
He spoke about some federal ministries that their staff are yet to under disability Inclusion or have low knowledge about the Act. Many of the MDAs don’t have any PWDs or sizable number of PWDs in their offices, There was little compliance on the area of accessibility of the buildings. Those are absence of ramps in some MDAs and where lifts were seen, there is absence of audio messaging. Many of the MDAs have not been able to create reserved parking space for PWDs and their car parks are made accessible for Persons with Disabilities.
There were panel section moderated by Ben Aga from NDI to chat way for MDAs to enhance the process.of effective implementation of the Act.