A committee that will sensitise people leaving with disabilities (PWDs) on their civic rights, especially as it relates to the need for them to vote and be voted for was yesterday inaugurated in Abuja.
The committee was set up by the Joint National Association of Persons with disabilities (JONAPWD), Persons with Disability Initiative Nigeria (PWDN) and Kpakpando Foundation.
Inaugurating the committee, JONAPWD's Vice President, Rilwan Muhammed Abdullahi, said the committee members will sensitise about 22 million persons living with disabilities across the country on the need for them to be actively involved in electoral activities.
He said most of their members don't participate in electoral process, adding that most of them believed the process is meant for the people without disabilities.
He charged the committee members to work hard to ensure all persons with disabilities are reached irrespective of their locations within the country.
Responding, the committee's chairman, Engr. Augustine Onwuamaegbu, promised that members of the committee will discharge their duties according to the scope of the assignment.
He said the committee mandates included, to sensitise members on their civic rights, the need for them to vote and be voted for and for them to be encouraged to participate during election registration and proper voting.
The committee chairman called on registered political parties to accord the same gesture given to women as a vulnerable group by giving nomination forms free of charge to their members vying for political position under the party's platform.
"We call on all electoral regulatory bodies including INEC to fashion out modalitities which will encourage equal participation of PWDs by giving this vulnerable group two days prior during voters registration to be set aside for PWDs and two hours prior before voting to be set aside for persons with disability," he appealled.
He also called on both federal and state governments to accord PWDs five percent affirmative action on both appointive and elective positions.
Mr. Dandison Hart is to serve as the committee's secretary.