The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) says the law which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities is not effective in the country.
JONAPWD, the umbrella body of persons with disabilities in Nigeria, says some of the public buildings are not still accessible to persons with disabilities especially people in wheelchairs. National Assistant Secretary General of the association, Yusuff Olatunji Raheem who spoke in Ibadan noted that the law provides that people with disabilities should have access to public buildings such as health facilities, schools, financial institutions and recreation facilities without any hindrances, lamenting however, that many of the people with disabilities find it difficult to access public buildings especially banks, health facilities and educational institutions.
“But, the law is not effective; it is yet to be implemented after two years of passage. Accessibility to all public buildings must be provided for people with disabilities according to the law,” he said.
While saying that people with disabilities should be allowed to enjoy basic amenities like their counterparts as guaranteed by the law, he urged President Muhammadu Buhari to prevail on all other organs of government to ensure effective implementation of the law.
“The way public buildings are constructed, majority of them are not disability-friendly. They are not humane for us; that makes it difficult for us to enjoy our country. Majority of public buildings are not accessible to us. Banks, all these private institutions, if you go there you will hardly see anyone that is accessible to people with disabilities. So, that makes life very difficult for us.
“If you go to banks, you want to activate your ATM or token, you are being deprived because they do not have ramps. But, if you look at the government of the day, President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act in 2019 and one of the provisions in that bill is that all public buildings must be accessible to persons with disabilities.
President Buhari had in January 2019 signed the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.
The bill, which was jointly passed by both Senate and House of Representatives, was signed into law on 23 January 2019 by Buhari.
The law prohibits all forms of discrimination on ground of disability and imposes fine of N1, 000, 000 for corporate bodies and N100, 000 for individuals or a term of six months imprisonment for violation concurrently.
“The law says that employees should reserve five percent of job opportunities for persons with disabilities, but I know that even two percent are not employed,” he said.
Raheem however, said that “Discrimination against persons with disabilities law is very good but government should make it effective. So, the life of over 30 million Nigerians with disabilities should be prioritised by government.”