7 December 2017

Nigeria: Physically Challenged Persons to Protest Neglect of Disability Bill At National Assembly

Abuja — A cross section of the over 25 million Nigerians living with various forms of disability will today protest the alleged neglect of the Disability Bill to the National Assembly.

Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD), David Anyaele, disclosed at a media briefing that the action was to stress the place of physically challenged persons in the society and the critical roles most of them play in the public and private sectors.

He said the decision was coming on the heels of this year's International Day for Persons with Disability, which is usually held on December 3 to attract global attention to the plights and needs of those who are physically challenged.

He added that they chose to embark on the march to intensify awareness for the bill, which he claimed, has been missing.Anyaele said all efforts to track the whereabouts of the bill one year after it was harmonised at the Senate and House of Representatives, the separate versions passed at different times, have been futile.

His words: "We are worried that since the present eighth National Assembly harmonised the bill on December 6, 2016, it has not been transmitted to the Presidency for assent.

"We have made several efforts to trace it to see if we can see it and lobby its assent, but to no avail. So, we will be correct to say that the bill, whose journey started in 2000, is missing," he said.

He added that more than 25 million Nigerians are living with one form of disability or the other and over 80 per cent of them are in the rural areas without social infrastructure and Federal Government presence targeted at People Living With Disabilities (PWDs).

He criticized the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture for its inability to create the necessary awareness on the issues of the physically challenged in the country. He added that over 99.5 per cent of public places and facilities in the country were deliberately not accessible to the physically challenged persons, as against the provisions of the bill.

Also speaking, Executive Director of Foundation for Charity and Community Health Nigeria, Kate Edozieh urged the media to join the crusade for the protection of the rights of physically challenged persons in the country.

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