Odumakin, Others Initiate Campaign for PWDs’ Rights

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Joe Okei-Odumakin

Sunday Okobi

Foremost Nigerian human right activist, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, and other concerned Nigerians yesterday kicked off a campaign to ensure the full implementation of the Disability Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu, as well as project the right of people living with disability (PWDs).

Odumakin and other activists, who activated the means to salvage the situation disabled people face in the society during the official launch of the ‘FollowDisAct’ campaign coined from Follow the Disability Act yesterday, said the campaign is to advocate for the inclusion of PWDs at policy and implementation level of the Act.

The campaign, which is an advocacy project of the Project Enable Africa (PEA), is to track, report and drive the implementation of the discrimination against PWD (Prohibition) 2018 bill passed into law in January.

At the event which took place at the newly inaugurated Inclusion Hub in Surulere, Lagos, yesterday, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Project Enable Africa (PEA), Odumakin, said: “In the last five years, we have stayed through to our goal which is to promote the right, empowerment and social inclusion PWD; we have done that by engaging policymakers and various stakeholders within the community of PWD.”

She added that the group has also been instrumental to providing direct and indirect empowerment opportunities for the PWD in areas such as ICT (web design, graphic design, digital business marketing etc.), as well as vocational, entrepreneurial, digital leadership and advocacy areas.

“As we celebrate our fifth anniversary, we are inspired to strengthen the advocacy for PWDs with the official launch of the Inclusion Hub, the first of its kind in Nigeria alongside the #FollowDisAct campaign.

“The FollowDisAct campaign has been designed as a five-year campaign project to coordinate a national effort to push for the full implementation of the discrimination against PWDs (Prohibition) Act,” Odumakin, who is also the President of Women Arise for Change, said, adding that the Act is a federal legal frame work that promotes the social inclusion of PWDs across all sectors and levels in the society.

On his own, the Director and Coordinator of Project Enable Africa, Mr. Olusola Owonikoko, said the group is expanding to target the inclusion of PWDs in the society and drive the Act to fruition for the sake of humanity.

Owonikoko stressed that PEA, as a community development initiative founded in 2014, is to strongly advocate for the right and empowerment of PWDs, adding that every Nigerian deserves quality life and that no one should be discriminated against on the account of their disability.

While highlighting the goals and objectives of the campaign, the PEA director disclosed that the project has been designed to monitor, track, report, and drive the implementation of the newly assented bill.

According to Owonikoko, “The goal of the campaign is to drive and catalyse the implementation of the newly assented Disability Act across Nigeria, while monitoring and reporting the progress of the Act and engaging all stakeholders from the private, public and civil society sectors. The campaign would be implemented at a national level, across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

“Our approach is largely community-driven and it will focus on the community of persons with disabilities, promoting their understanding of the provisions of the Nigeria Disability Act while also sensitising the society of the legal framework protecting disability rights in Nigeria through the mass media.”

Many of the PWDs who graced the occasion, thanked the group for the project to further their cause in the society, and urged other groups and individuals to join the cause in order for them to live freely and happily like others in the society.