TAF Africa under their project Able to Serve has written openly to His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu demanding the appointment of persons with disabilities as Ministers, Executive Secretaries and Director Generals.
The Founder/CEO, TAF Africa, Amb. Jake Epelle made this demands on Thursday in Abuja while presenting the open letter to the press.
He said that they are writing open letter to Mr. President as a concerned organization that advocates for the rights and recognition of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
Amb. Jake who is also the convener of Disability Inclusion Nigeria said that they are strongly urging the President to prioritize the inclusion of persons with disabilities in your cabinet appointments, thereby fostering an inclusive and representative government.
In the letter, he also said: “It is an unfortunate reality that persons with disabilities in our society often face significant barriers to accessing basic rights and opportunities. Despite the progress made in recent years, we continue to witness the marginalization and exclusion of this significant population”.
He then called on Mr. President as the leader of our great nation, change the narrative and make a resounding statement about the values and potential of persons with disabilities by including persons with disabilities in his cabinet. It would not only ensure their representation in decision-making processes but also harness their unique perspectives and expertise.
“The experiences and insights of persons with disabilities can greatly contribute to the development and implementation of policies that address the specific needs and challenges faced by the community. Their inclusion would bring about more comprehensive and effective governance, fostering a society that truly upholds the principles of equality, diversity, and social justice” he added.
He reminded the President that appointing persons with disabilities to influential positions in his government would serve as a powerful symbol of inclusivity, sending a clear message that Nigeria embraces and values the contribution of every citizen, regardless of their abilities.
“This act of leadership would inspire other sectors of the society to follow suit and create a ripple effect of positive change that extends far beyond the political realm. It will also send a powerful message to the society, dispel misconceptions and prejudices surrounding disability as well as serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for countless persons with disabilities who often face systemic barriers and limited opportunities due to societal attitudes and biases”.
He reminded that it is essential to include persons with disabilities in governance to align with Nigeria’s commitment to human rights standards. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which Nigeria is a signatory, explicitly emphasizes the rights of persons with disabilities to participate fully and effectively in political and public life.
He also said that it is important for the President to note that including persons with disabilities in his cabinet, you would demonstrate our nation’s dedication to fulfilling its international obligations and ensuring the rights of all citizens are protected and upheld.
Also speaking at the press conference, George Anwayi, Assistant Programs Lead, TAF urged President Bola Tinubu and the thirty-six (36) state governors to take immediate action in addressing this critical issue by actively seeking out qualified persons with disabilities to serve in your cabinet as Ministers, Heads of Parastatals, Ambassadors, and Commissioners.
The Senior Communications Officer, TAF Africa, Lynn Agwuncha added that to achieve the above mentioned demands, TAF Africa appealed that Mr. President consider the following recommendations:
- Actively seek out qualified and competent Persons with disabilities who possess the skills, expertise, and experience required for your cabinet positions.
- Establish a transparent and inclusive selection process that ensures equal opportunities for persons with disabilities to apply and compete for positions.
- Collaborate with relevant disability organizations, advocacy groups, and experts to identify suitable candidates and ensure their smooth integration into the cabinet.
- Provide necessary support and accommodations to facilitate the effective participation of persons with disabilities in their roles.
- Encourage other public and private sector organizations to follow suit and promote the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their leadership positions.
- Invest in disability awareness and sensitivity training for all government officials and employees to foster a culture of inclusivity and eliminate discrimination.
She also said that Mr. President’s commitment to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in his cabinet will not only transform the lives of millions but also inspire a wave of positive change throughout our society.
She implored the President to take affirmative action in this matter by appointing persons with disabilities to your cabinet.
“By doing so, you would be championing the cause of disability inclusion and demonstrating your commitment to the principles of equality and social justice, which will create a more just, equitable, and prosperous Nigeria for all”.
Comrade Agbo Chris Obiora, the Chairman, National Association of Persons With Physical Disabilities (NAPWPD) FCT Chapter and the Executive Director, The Qualitative Magazine speaking to the Press at The Conference said that it is important for government at all levels to implement Section 29 of Disability Act which stipulates 5% employment quota for PWDs in appointment the members of their cabinet as well as other key governmental positions.
It is a matter of law so it should be implemented and we have capacity persons with disabilities who should occupy these positions and perform credibly well.
He also urged the new administration to channel more funds to National Commission For Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD) to enable them discharge their duties in order to address numerous challenges confronting persons with disabilities in Nigeria.