Group urges President Buhari to assent to disability bill

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The Coalition of Disability Organisation (CODO), an NGO, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Nigeria Disability Bill into law.

The Convener of the Coalition, Mr David Anyaele, made the call in a statement on the State of the Nigeria Disability Bill at the National Assembly on Thursday in Abuja.

Anyaele said it would be heart-warming for the group if the presidential assented to the bill before Dec.3, the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

Anyaele said that the group received with excitement the news that the National Assembly had completed legislative action on the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill 2018.

He said that the bill which was sponsored by Sen. Francis Alimikhena at the Senate and Mr Ochiglegor Idagbo at the House of Representatives, had some issues with clauses that needed to be added.

“ Recognising that the issue of correcting the errors on the passed bill may be of priority to the leadership of the National Assembly, we had no other choice than to call for a protest march to the National Assembly Complex on Oct. 10, 2018.

“This was to draw the attention of the NASS and to call for urgent completion of action on the bill before the 2019 general elections campaign starts.

“Today, the 8th National Assembly has heeded to our clarion call for the completion of action on the Bill as promised by the assembly during the protest last month.

“ Now that the National Assembly has completed action on the bill, the focus of our campaign is on the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for his assent.’’

Anyaele said that the key point to support Presidential assent to the Nigeria Disabilities Bill was the fact that Nigeria ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities eight years ago but was yet to domesticate it.

He added that Nigeria’s population of persons living with disabilities is currently more than 25 million people, yet there was no comprehensive law to specifically cater for their needs as required under the Convention.

The convener said that persons with disabilities in Nigeria faced countless discrimination daily on account of their disabilities, particularly challenges in mobility, healthcare, education, physical and emotional abuse and neglect.

He said that the above issues made it imperative for a law with an appropriate institutional framework to protect persons with disabilities.

Anyaele said that the provisions of the Bill, if assented to, could be progressively implemented within the moratorium period by the government would enable persons with disabilities to access the benefits provided by the Convention..

He added that signing the Bill into law would maximally boost human capital development by encouraging indigenous and foreign participation of persons with disabilities in economic, social and political development of the country.

The convener said the assent to the bill would also demonstrate Nigeria’s commitment to honour its international obligations as one of the countries at the vanguard of this international treaty aimed at protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.

He thanked the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly for concluding its assignment while urging President Buhari to assent to the bill.

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