Rhe Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disability, James David Lalu has said that the Commission will soon roll out a document on the minimum accessibility standards which all buildings in Nigeria are expected to comply with in making sure their facilities are accessible for persons with disabilities.
Lalu disclosed this in Abuja on 20th September, 2021 at the beginning of a 2-day Workshop on Developing the Minimum Accessibility Standard organized by the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in partnership with Sightsavers.
In a press release signed by JohnMichael Mbanefo, the head of Publicity and Media, NCPWD, the ES, in his remarks, stated that though there is an existing national building code in Nigeria, it lacks accessibility component and so there was a need to deveop a Manual that was disability inclusive and accessible to PWDs.
“Our aim today is to develop a minimum accessibility standard which have the guiding measurement for all physical buildings to adopt and this is in line with our mandate as a Commission set up by the President.” he said.
Mr James Lalu further stressed that the minimum accessibility standards comes with an accessibility audit checklist in which companies can use for self assessment prior to when the Commission will commence its enforcement.
“We believe in advocating for change and not just the punitive measures.” he declared.
Earlier in his address, the country Director of Sightsavers, Dr Sunday Isiyaku who was represented by Mr Rasak Adekoya stated that the workshop is fashioned to support Private and Public Institutions to make their physical buildings accessible to people with disabilities.
He also said that the Disability Act makes it mandatory for all Public buildings to be accessible.
“Before the 5 years grace period stipulated in the Act, the Commission can use this standard to guide Engineers, property managers and building owners to make their buildings accessible for all Persons with Disabilities” he opined.
The event was fully funded by Sightsavers in partnership with the Commission was attended by stakeholders from the Federal Ministriy of Works and Housing and the Federal Ministry of Transport, The Nigerian society of Engineers, Standard Organization of Nigeria and a number of CSOs and OPDs, including Nigerian National Association of the Deaf,NNAD, National Association of the Blind, NAB FCT chapter and Disability Rights Fund to name a few.
The minimum accessibility standards was developed by Sightsavers through its Inclusive Futures project as part of its disability confidence tool kit. A pro tem document was jointly reviewed and validated by the attending stakeholders including those from Federal Ministry of works and Transportation, Nigeria Society of Engineers and Federation of African Engineers as well as leading organisations of Persons with disabilities.