Lagos Shows the Way

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Some physically challenged persons
Some physically challenged persons

Lagos State government is set to end discrimination against the physically challenged persons

|  By Augustine Adah  |  Feb. 25, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

THE plight of the physically-challenged people in the society has been a source of concern to some individuals and organisations. Many of them have suffered social segregation and discrimination like denial of employment in both the private and public sectors even with required qualifications. For these reasons, David Anyaele, director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, Lagos, wants the government and organisations to end all forms of discrimination against  physically-challenged persons.

Dolapo Badru
Dolapo Badru

He lamented that in spite of the large number of people with one form of challenge or the other in Nigeria, they are not adequately represented in decision-making positions. According to Anyaele, many states in the country have not appointed a single member of the physically-challenged persons into any political office. “The physically challenged persons in Nigeria are more than 19 million persons, therefore we deserve to be represented at all levels of governance,” Anyaele said.

The practice of discriminating against of physically challenged persons in employment and political appointments, contradicts the UN declaration that seeks to end all forms of discrimination against people. About 155 countries including Nigeria under the UN convention on the rights of persons with disability met in 2007 in New York, USA, to sign the declaration. Since then, many countries including Nigeria have not implemented the convention.

But the Lagos State government has demonstrated its willingness to improve the living conditions of the physically challenged persons. The state has become the first to pass the law on the rights of people with disability. The bill seeking to protect the rights of the physically-challenged persons was passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly in 2011 and became a law when the governor signed it towards the end of 2011. But the implementation of the law was delayed because the governor complained then that it was not reflected in the 2012 budget. However, recently, the government has restated its commitment to enhancing the dignity and rights of the physically challenged persons. It went further to demonstrate its commitment by  constituting an advisory board for the full implementation of the disability law in the state. The government explained that  the nation could be said to be on the right path when the physically-challenged people are not segregated and included in decision-making.

Dolapo Badru, special adviser to the governor on youth and social development, said that  the barriers faced by such persons were a source of worry to the government. He promised that the government would do all things possible to remove the obstacles that hinder them from enjoying societal rights and privileges. “We must collectively work together to enhance the dignity and rights of the physically challenge persons to ensure a prosperous world,” Badru said.

David Anyaele
David Anyaele

He reaffirmed the commitment of the government in providing them with all the things that would make them live normal lives in the society without discrimination. “I wish to state that the Lagos State Government is committed to improving the lives of the citizenry, particularly, the physically-challenged persons through its policies. The government will not relent in its efforts to provide the basic necessities of life that will make life worth living for persons with disabilities.”

Fariudeen Akiodu, director, finance and administration, ministry of youth and social development, stressedd that the physically challenged people are also members of the society who should enjoy all the benefits of life like the normal human beings.  “All over the world, there is a tremendous improvement in the areas of education, health care delivery, human rights, liberty and economic empowerment of the citizenry in order to make the world a better place. Therefore, the physically-challenged  people in Nigeria should not be left out,” Akiodu said.

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