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TAF Africa, Others advocate for 10% appointive positions at all levels of government

TAF Africa and other stakeholders from Organization of Persons With disabilities (OPDs), CSOs have advocated for 10percent appointive positions for persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the incoming administration at the cabinet of national and subnational levels.

The CEO and Founder, TAF Africa, Jake Epelle made the appeal at Stakeholders’ Strategic Roundtable Discussion on Able to Serve Campaign in Abuja, a TAF Africa organized supported by European Union to discuss the importance of appointing PWDs in key offices of government.

Mr Epelle submitted that Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are one of the most marginalized groups in Nigeria and across the world.

He went further to state that despite several calls for the inclusion of PWDs in governance, very little has been done so far.

“This is why we are calling on the incoming administration to appoint PWDs into his cabinet, because it is the way forward, if we must promote inclusion in Nigeria”.

“We need affirmative action policies that promote the employment of PWDs in both the public and private sectors, as well as incentives to encourage employers to hire PWDs.”.

“Doing this alone will make all the states, local governments, MDAs and private sector to do same and 15% of out hitherto lost GDP will be reclaimed” he stated.

“Able to Serve Campaign is in different layers, first is to engage, we have engaged many governors-elect and we are sure of at least three commissioners. In this entering level, we will also engage the media to amplify the campaign.

The second level is to bring together all the PWDs that have appointed in a conference where experienced people will speak to them on what it takes to occupy a public office. This will help to avoid low performance of the appointed PWDs because it will be a disservice to the disability community of those appointed didn’t perform optimally.

The third level is that we will continue to hold them accountable and provide our the technical support to ensure that they succeed because if they succeed, disability community have succeeded.

Hajiya Amina Zakari, a board member of TAF Africa representing the Chairman of The Board, Prof. Vincent Anigbogu in her speech said that PWDs as long as they are capable deserve to enjoy citizen’s rights which includes right to serve at any level.

Speaking further, she said that it is imperative for PWDs to be part of governance as every group including vulnerable groups, women, PWDs and Youth deserve to be part of decision making.

We are advocating for inclusive governance and this inclusion should be deliberate, it is a matter of right so there should be deliberate effort in appointing PWDs as cabinet members, board members and any other appointive positions that are available at federal, state and local government levels.

The Executive Director, Kuka Centre, Fr. Atta Barkindo said that appointing PWDs in some strategic is a right step in the right direction because it is only PWDs who have been in the situation will be in a position to provide recommendations for policies that will engender the desired result.

He also proposed that a strategy should be developed to enhance the acceptance of PWDs in the local communities, appointing PWDs is key but there should be a profound strategy to sustain it.

Fr. Barkindo also said according to the 2019 Disability Act, at least 5 percent of employment opportunities are meant to be reserved for persons with disabilities.

“However, what we have seen is a far cry from what should be attainable going to by 2019 Disability Act.” He added.

Agbo Christian Obiora, the Executive Director, The Qualitative Magazine, Secretary, JONAPWD FCT and Chairman, National Association of Persons With Physical Disabilities (NAPWPD) FCT speaking on behalf of JONAPWD pledged the support of JONAPWD for the campaign.

Speaking further, he said that PWDs are tired of being appointed as Special Advisers on Disability Matters, PWDs can serve as ministers, commissioners, DGs of Agencies.

He lamented about the inability of 39 PWDs who contested the last election to win.

He urged PWDs to join political parties and continue to participate actively in order to position themselves well for the next election.

The Chief Operations Officers of CARE, Dr Chike Okogwu, agreed that Persons with disabilities have the capacity and credibility to lead public offices and contribute to national growth and development if given the opportunity.

He said that the disability law said that it is minimum of five percent so it is not out of place, if PWDs ask for 10percent. After all, there is capable PWDs to take up the responsibility.

“As Nigeria is leaving out PWDs in the scheme of things, they are leaving out 15 percent of the country’s GDP because PWDs constitutes 15 percent of this country’s population”.

The event witnessed panel sessions and a communique was raised where PWDs demand 10 percent appointive positions by the new administration at all levels, political parties mainstream PWDs in their constitution and create a disability deck to ensure inclusion ( the details of the communique will be published soon).

The event brought together OPDs, CSOs And PWD wing of different political parties.

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