by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Federal Government has been called on to establish a national disability rights commission to ensure the protection of rights of the People With Disabilities in the society.
Executive Director of ‘The Qualitative Magazine’ (TQM), which is an NGO working for the protection of rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), Mr Christian Obiora, made the call on Tuesday in Jos, during the inauguration and maiden meeting of its project, tagged ‘Connecting Our Voices to the World, for Plateau.
According to him, the law on Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities Prohibition, signed in January, 2019, by President Mohammadu Buhari, would be effective only if a commission is on ground to set things in motion.
He said, the discrimination against persons with disability prohibition Act was passed by the 8th Senate in March, 2018, while explaining that with a national commission on ground, the challenges of discrimination and stigmatization against PWDs would be drastically curbed.
Mr Obiora elaborated that, “In January, 2019, President Mohammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities Prohibition Act, but, without a functional commission, the implementation of the Act will be very difficult, because the Act serves as the vehicle for its implementation.
“We urge government to give the Act a direction by bringing on board a commission and, by extension, protecting the rights of the PWDs,” he said, and commended the Plateau state government for establishing the disability rights commission in the state, and called on other states to take a queue from here.
Speaking on the new project, Mr Obiora said “It is aimed at empowering the PWDs in Plateau; hence giving them a sense of belonging, as well as amplifying their voices. It would ensure that the potentials and abilities of the PWDs are properly harnessed, recognised, valued and respected.”
The executive director, who said the project would last till March, 2021, added that it would ensure increased awareness on the innate potentials of the PWDs in the state.
He also said that the project would ensure improved access to social, health, and economic opportunities for the PWDs.
“This project will basically ensure that the PWDs get their pride of place and also be recognised in the society.
“It will ensure an improved awareness on the issues that affect the PWDs; hence bringing to an end discrimination and stigmatization that they often face in the society,” he said.
The meeting had PWDs drawn from all parts of the state, members of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the media, government agencies, among others, as participants.