Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Mr. David Anyaele, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently sign the Disability Bill to law in view to enable persons living with disabilities exercise their fundamental rights and participate in the 2019 general election.
Anyaele made the plea, at a press briefing, in Lagos, where he said that the signing of the Bill into law would guarantee the rights and rehabilitation of persons living with disabilities in the country.
His words, “It is a matter of urgency for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make provision for persons living with disabilities in the 2019 elections.
Anyaele said that the signing of the Bill would promote inclusiveness of people with disabilities in governance and address the issue of discrimination against them.
He added that the group supports government efforts and it campaign to scrap out corruption in the society due to the impact of corruption there had been severe hardship especially for the physically-challenged in the country.
He commended the effort of President Buhari towards the recovery $322.51 million Abacha looted from Switzerland, but expressed sadness at the way the President intended to share the money among 300,000 poor Nigerians without mapping out a strategy for the selection of the beneficiaries.
He wondered how the federal Government would determine the identity and data of beneficiaries under the National Social Safety Net Programme.
Anyaele also said that the scheme was designed with the exclusion of more than 25 million Nigerians living with disabilities whose conditions were made worse due to neglect, discrimination and stigmatization of the system.
He continued, “We are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to make provision for the welfare of Persons with Disabilities (PWD), address some of the issues facing them and signing the Disability Bill into law.
“We have been earnestly waiting for the signing of the bill in view of what it could do to address the problems faced by people with disabilities.
“The Bill, if signed into law, will no doubt engender inclusiveness of people with disabilities in governance and promote their participation in the political process.
“Also, it will address the issue of discrimination faced by people with disabilities and ensure their real integration into the Nigerian society. There is the need for the country to have a reliable data of people with disabilities for planning purposes.
“Accessibility to transportation including road, sea ports, railways, air and related facilities. Protecting the liberty of PWDs and criminalise their use in alms begging as well as making provision for all aspects of their educational and health care needs.”
Anyaele also called the Federal Government to direct the National Population Commission (NPC) to take appropriate steps in that direction, stating that the group was ready to work with government and other stakeholders in advancing the well-being of PWD.
He urged the National Assembly to interface and work closely with the executive arm to ensure speedy assent of the Bill.
The Director said one of salient provisions of the Bill was free education for people with disabilities, adding it would build their (PWDs) capacities and reduce poverty, if assented to.
On the state of the nation, Anyaele bemoaned the killings and attacks in some parts of the country, urging the Federal Government to provide lasting solutions to the problem.
He continued, “Many Nigerians, including a high number of people with disabilities, have lost their lives to the mayhem, urging the government to stop the bloodbath.