Buhari Assents to Bill Prohibiting Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities

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Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari wednesday in Abuja assented to the bill prohibiting all forms of discrimination against persons living with disabilities.

Making this disclosure in a statement, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said the bill imposed N1 million fine on any organisation, which discriminates against persons living with disabilities on any ground.

He also said the bill imposed N100,000 or six months’ imprisonment on an individual who violates the bill.

He also said the bill gave transitional period of five years for modification of public buildings and structures, including automobiles to pave the way for easy access by persons living with disabilities.

The statement, which said the bill provided for the establishment of National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, added that the bill also stipulated that every public building under construction henceforth, must consist of facilities which put the interest of persons with disabilities into consideration.

According to Enang, the bill also stipulates punishment for individuals or groups who approve public buildings without complying with the required building code.

“Before erecting any public structure, its plan shall be scrutinised by the relevant authority to ensure that the plan conforms with the building code.”

“A government or government agency, body or individual responsible for the approval of building plans shall not approve the plan of a public building if the plan does not make provision for accessibility facilities in line with the building code.

“An officer who approves or directs the approval of a building plan that contravenes the building code, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of at least N1, 000, 000 or a term of imprisonment of two years or both.

“Discrimination is prohibited in public transportation facilities and service providers are to make provision for the physically, visually and hearing impaired and all persons howsoever challenged.

“This applies to seaports, railways and airport facilities. The rights and privileges include education, healthcare, priority in accommodation and emergencies.

Furthermore, all public organisations are to reserve at least five persons of employment opportunities for these persons.

“The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities is also established in Section 31 with Executive Secretary as the head.”