The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, the umbrella organization of persons with disabilities, has called on the Nigerian government of Nigeria to ratify the African Disability Protocol (ADP) with the aim of providing vital support for PWDs.
JONAPWD made the call during an advocacy steering committee meeting organized by Sightsavers, stressing that the ratification of the ADP will help to close disability-inclusive policy gaps in Nigeria.
The association believed that the Nigerian Government has committed and invested in national disability legislation through The Prohibition Against Discrimination of Persons with Disability Act 2018 but in spite of this law, there are still numerous gaps unaddressed to protect the rights of over 25 million people with disabilities in Nigeria.
Speaking at the meeting, Sightsavers Country Director, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku said, “I’m urging all disability advocates to come together for us to jointly influence Government to adopt the Protocol. There are millions of persons with disabilities in the northeast region of Nigeria. They are not protected by any legislative document in the country. With the ratification of the ADP, their protection in periods of armed conflict or other humanitarian situations will be guaranteed”.
The CEO of the Albinism Foundation, Jake Epelle also revealed that “in Nigeria, as a result of our cultural beliefs and myths, there are harmful practices that discriminate and infringe on the rights of persons with disability, particularly persons with albinism and those with intellectual disability.
“Unfortunately, there is no legal policy that protects the rights of these persons when they infringe on them, not even the National Disability Act”.
The acting National President of JONAPWD, Abdullahi Usman, added that “family members are avoiding their relatives with a disability. Article 3 of the African Disability Protocol makes provisions for the rights of family members and caregivers of people with disabilities who might otherwise be subject to discrimination due to their association with people with disabilities.
“Parents of children with disability and spouses of adults with a disability are mostly the victims in these circumstances. This is one reason why the Government of Nigeria needs to adopt the ADP as our national disability law does not protect our family members”.
The group also shared concerns that older people with disabilities are denied social insurance support such as the accommodation and rehabilitation they need to live a healthier life.
Racheal Inegbedion, Executive Director for Special Needs Initiative for Growth said: “There are strong links between aging and disability. The ratification of the African disability protocol will help to protect the rights of the elderly and as Africans, it is important we do everything to support our aged persons”.
At the end of the one-day meeting, an advocacy steering committee and engagement strategy were formulated by the national disability movement which will help in engaging and influencing all relevant stakeholders.
Key disability leaders at the event include the Chairman of the UNCRPD committee, Barrister Danlami Basharu, National President of the Nigeria Association of the Blind – Ishaq Adamu, Founder of Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria – Mrs. Rose Mordi, all National presidents of other disability clusters among others.
The African Charter on the Human Rights of Persons with Disability and Old Persons, also known as the African Disability Protocol, was launched in 2018. The Protocol is an African contextualization of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disability and ten countries have signed this Protocol.