The Federal House of Representatives Committee on Disability has pledged to champion and strengthen its oversight function to ensure the full implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria to affect the lives of people with disabilities (PWDs) positively.
The commitment was made during a 2-day retreat with National Assembly members and the Organisation of Persons with Disability(OPD) by Sightsavers through the UK AID Inclusion Works project.
The event with the House Committee on Disability in Owerri, Imo State, was to sensitize and create awareness on the potentials of people with disabilities to businesses and share insights on the barriers people with disabilities encounter in getting or creating a job or working.
The retreat also provided insight into the business rationale for including people with disabilities in the workplace and for NASS members to know how to engage with colleagues or suppliers with disabilities.
The Chairman House Committee on Disability, Hon. Marian Onuoha affirmed the Committee’s support to ensure the domestication of the National Disability Act in all states to allow for seamless implementation and transition through all states and local government.
Hon. Onuoha also said, “disability is a fundamental human right, and all private and public institutions must guarantee non-discriminatory practices and policies that will promote a disability-inclusive friendly society.”
She further shared the committee’s activities and urged organisations of people with disabilities to provide technical support to the committee that will enhance their mandate as announced by the Honourable Speaker, RT Femi Gbajabiamila, when he constituted the committee on December 3, 2020.
The Country Director for Sightsavers Nigeria, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, says: “it is commendable for the members of the National Assembly to be willing to learn best disability global practices and committed to using the knowledge and deliberation from this retreat to demand disability-inclusive legislation reforms in Nigeria.
“Our collective principle approach is to work and support with organisations of people with disability and government bodies to prioritize and mainstream disability inclusion across all programs and policies,” he added.
He also revealed that Sightsavers’ long-term goal is to ensure people with disabilities, in all their diversity, have increased participation in society and can access health services, be financially independent and contribute to the decisions that affect their lives.
In the same vein, the Executive Secretary, Nigeria Commission for Persons with Disability, Mr James Lalu, said, “our commitment to the true development of Nigeria must start from true inclusion, and true inclusion must start from a true recognition of human diversity. PWDs are part of human diversity.”
He also explained that “the commission is striving to ensure the disability act is fully implemented, but the financial budget apportioned to the institution is very little compared to the task to be accomplished; thus there is a need for honourable parliament members to support in helping to ensure speedy passage of its 2022 budget which needs to be significantly increased upward.”
The Acting National President of Persons with Disability, Mr Abdullahi Usman, appreciated Sightsavers for bringing together the House Committee on Disability to understand the problems of PWDs for them to use their good office to ensure that PWDs are not discriminated against in Nigeria.
The Disability Inclusive Development (DID) programme, now known as Inclusive Futures, is a programme of Sightsavers and the International Disability Alliance, implemented with a Consortium of 11 organisations. It is funded by UKAid. The goal is to improve the long-term well-being and inclusion of people with disabilities in low and middle-income countries (including conflict and humanitarian settings).