By Teniola Akinpelumi
It’s very rare to see Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) being recruited in the military field anywhere in Nigeria. How about Deaf persons? You might be thinking it is because they can neither hear nor speak. Or you might think communication barrier makes it impossible.
For many years, PwDs came together in groups for advocacy reason. To fight for their cause which led to the enactment of DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PROHIBITION) ACT 2018 shortened “Disability Law”.
Many have died while fighting for this cause. Even now that there is Law against any form of discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, they are still being discriminated against.
The Disability Law which came into being in early 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari signed the bill into law, aims at safeguarding the rights of over 31 million PwDs living in Nigeria and it serves penalties to violators. Section 29 of the Act stipulates 5% employment opportunities to be accorded to PwDs which is what the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is doing by offering employment opportunities to four Deaf and two Blind persons. An action that is worthy of emulation.
The employment opportunities offered to PwDs portrays the commitment of NDLEA towards the welfare of PwDs in Nigeria and their effective implementation of the Disability Law. NDLEA’s commitment needs to be emulated by other agencies and organisations who think that PwDs aren’t good enough to be in any field of their interest.
While it is true that PwDs can not deliver professional services in all departments of an organisation, there are other departments that they would be best fitted and this is what Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s) should put in mind when it comes to both empowerment and employment of PwDs.
With great pleasure, we express our sincere gratitude to NDLEA for believing in us and turning barriers into opportunities.
As officers in the law enforcement agency, we wish to use this medium to urge all MDA’s especially FRSC, CUSTOMS to learn from NDELA that is taking the lead in recruiting PwDs in their agency thereby ensuring no one is left behind.