Disability rights advocates have appealed to the Osun State Government for the speedy domestication of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, as part of measures to promote the rights and improve the livelihood of over 700,000 persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the state.
The advocates spoke during a press conference about the status of the Osun State Disability bill which was organized by the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD – Osun State Chapter), in collaboration with Festus Fajemilo Foundation, Society for Life Changers and Good Parental Care (So-Life) and Community Advancement Initiative for Self-Reliance (CAI4SR).
While delivering his speech at the press conference, Mr. Afolabi Fajemilo, the Executive Director of FFF explained that disability issues have evolved over time, and Nigeria being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocols had signed into law a National Disability Act, adding that such is expected to be domesticated in all states across the country.
Fajemilo noted that it is imperative that the Osun State Government domesticate the law to eliminate the exclusion and barriers that PWDs in the state encounter on a daily basis.
Fajemilo who said the state loses if the disability law is not domesticated stressed that “If the disability law is in place, the shared values and contributions of PWDs would be explored for the state, they will contribute and add value to the development of the state.
“We have moved away from the charity or medical models of disability which see PWDs as object of pity, but moved to social and rights-based models which believe in the promotion of the rights of PWDs.”
He thereafter appealed to “the Executive arm and Legislative arms of the Osun State Government to work together to herald a new life for PWDs so the society can benefit from inclusive governance.”
Corroborating Fajemilo, Adeola Falana, Coordinator of SO-LIFE said it would be a landmark achievement for the Ggboyega Oyetola administration if the governor could assent to the bill before he leaves office.
Falana, who listed the various provisions of the draft bill, shared that if passed, it would create an enabling environment for PWDs in the state.
In her remarks, Mrs. Eni Ayeni, the Executive Director CAI4SR lamented the various forms of discrimination that PWDs experience in society, noting that if there is a disability law in Osun State, it would eliminate all forms of discrimination that PWDs are exposed to.
Earlier, the Chairman of the JONAPWD in the state, Mr. Oluwafemi Stephen commended the efforts and support that have been provided by different stakeholders to ensure the rights of PWDs in the state are upheld.
While commending the support from the current administration so far, Stephen also lends his voice to call for the transmission of the disability bill to the governor and thereafter to the Osun State House of Assembly (OSHA).
Mr. Kehinde Onitiju, the immediate past chairman of JONAPWD and Special Adviser to the OSHA Speaker, Hon. Timothy Owoeye, said it is certain that the Hon. Speaker who has demonstrated a high level of commitment to disability inclusion would assent to the bill once transmitted to the House of Assembly.
Mrs. Funmilayo Abdullahi, an official of JONAPWD who shared that the disability law is a right that PWDs are entitled to and not an option, stressed that the state government should pass the law so that PWDs are not treated unfairly.
The Press conference which held in Osogbo had in attendance disability-rights advocates, members of JONAPWD, and media professionals from print, broadcast, and online media platforms.