The Nigerian government has signed the African Disability Protocol (ADP) as a significant step towards promoting the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
The signing of the ADP which was supported by Sightsavers, an international NGO coincided with the one-year anniversary of the Global Disability Summit, where last year the Nigerian government made wider commitments to advance disability rights.
Speaking about the adoption of the protocol, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities James Lalu said the signing of the ADP is a demonstration of the commitment of the Nigerian Government to promoting the rights of people with disabilities and ensuring that they are included and valued members of our society.
Lalu added that “this is a historic moment for Nigeria and for people with disabilities across Africa”
Dr Sunday Isiyaku, Country Director, Sightsavers, added, “We are delighted to have supported the government in signing the African Disability Protocol. This is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive society where the rights of people with disabilities are respected and protected.
“We look forward to working with the government and other partners to ensure that the protocol is fully implemented. We also hope this encourages more African governments to adopt the protocol.”
The African Disability Protocol was adopted by the African Union in 2014 and came into force in 2018. It provides a comprehensive framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities in Africa, including the right to education, employment, healthcare, and accessibility.
In a press release issued by Joy Tarbo, Communications Associate at Sightsavers, it was disclosed that through its Equal World campaign, Sightsavers is working with partners across Africa to call on their governments to ratify the ADP, which needs 15 ratifications to become law.
The statement reads in part that “disability campaigners in these countries are asking their governments to join Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Mali, and Rwanda and make the treaty legal for all. Sightsavers has been working closely with the Nigerian government to ensure the country’s commitment to the protocol. The final step after signing will be for the government to fully ratify the treaty.
“The Equal World campaign is encouraging the government to use this opportunity to formally report back on their progress on their commitments to the summit secretariat. These included commitments to assent the Disability Rights Law and to improve disability policy in education, accessible infrastructure, economic empowerment, gender rights, data collection, and humanitarian response.”