ActionAid Urges States to Establish Disability Commission


Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

ActionAid Nigeria has called on state governments across the country to establish Disability Commission to protect the right of people living with disabilities.

A statement issued yesterday by the humanitarian non-governmental organisation working to combat poverty and all forms of injustice in Nigeria, said the state governors should follow the lead of President Muhammadu Buhari, who appointed executive members of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), by doing same in their states.

The statement said the ActionAid Nigeria’s Country Director, Ene Obi, had said in Abuja that: “With an estimated population of 25 million Nigerians with disability (Human Rights Watch 2019), the need for a Disability Commission is long overdue, and we applaud the federal government for making efforts to bring an end to years of exclusion of this valuable population through the establishment of a commission charged specifically with the responsibility of ensuring the inclusion and welfare of persons with disabilities as enshrined in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities law in Nigeria.

“We earnestly hope that the commission, through its mandate, will ensure that the education, healthcare and other social and economic rights of the people with disabilities contained in the 1999 Constitution and the law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities will be upheld.

“Also worthy of emphasis is the need to ensure that at least five per cent of all public appointments go to people with disabilities as backed up by the law supporting the establishment of the commission; only PWDs can proffer solutions to challenges they face, and we call on governments at all level to honour this provision of the law.”

The statement further noted that: “For persons with disabilities, the freedom to move safely around urban and rural areas in Nigeria is greatly restricted by the plan and design of transport systems that is insensitive to their needs, and by negative social norms that tolerates violence towards certain disabilities.”