NOA seeks social inclusion for persons with disabilities 

The Director-General, National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari, has called for inclusion of the rights and needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs) into all policies and programmes to promote social inclusion.

Abari made this call at a one-day capacity building on the Roles of Stakeholders in the Implementation of the National Disability Act 2018 in Abuja on Tuesday.

The event was in partnership with the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), an NGO. 

The director-general said that the National Disability Act 2018 was birthed as an intervention to the various unmet critical needs of PWDs in Nigeria.

According to him, the National Disability Act 2018 is a welcome development, as it is sufficiently robust to address most issues of persons with disabilities.

He said social inclusion for persons with disabilities included putting their needs as the country prepared for the general elections, policies and programmes and security of their lives amongst others.

“It is also in line with the SDGs of social inclusion. I strongly believe that persons with disabilities have the capacity to contribute to national development.

“I urge Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and private sector to take a careful look at Disability Act, find our respective roles in the Act and come up with a deliberate implementation plan.

“These plans will help to meet disability needs in your policies, programmes and activities, our individual and collective commitment to this course is quite crucial.’’

The director-general restated the agency’s commitment toward promoting the vision of the CDD as a lead organisation advocating for disability rights.

He said NOA’s role of public enlightenment would be used to step up awareness creation to tiers of government and rural areas.

The Executive Director of CCD, Mr David Anyaele, called for the empowerment of persons with disabilities, saying all stakeholders must support the full implementation of the National Disability Act.

He said it was saddening that discrimination still persisted through stigma, behaviours and practices amongst Nigerians to persons living with disabilities.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the disability bill into law, noted the need for not leaving persons with disabilities behind in governance.

“Nigeria currently has 31 million persons with disabilities and 80 per cent of them are in rural areas; we commend those states that have passed the disability law also; it is impressive.

“We call for the removal of all barriers against persons with disabilities so as to allow access,’’ he said.

Dr Comfort Adeosun, representative, Office of the Civil Service of the Federation, said the disability rights law was being implemented by giving five per cent of all recruitments to persons with disabilities.

DSP Patrick Effiom, Disability Desk Officer, Nigeria Police Force, said the force had established disability desk offices in all police stations for persons with disabilities to access policing services.

Barr. Kola Ogunbiyi, a keynote speaker, spoke about the National Disability Act, calling on all stakeholders to create awareness for all accessibility to all public places for persons with disabilities.

“We need all MDAs and other stakeholders to make amends to create access to all barriers limiting PWDs.

“Even in hospitals, there is need for sign interpreters to be available, so that persons with disabilities will have access to health services.’’

Highlight of the event was the session with panelists emphasising need for ending all barriers and making life inclusive for persons with disabilities in all areas.

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