The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has called on President Jonathan to sign the disability law before leaving office as that will be the surest way to guarantee the inclusion, participation and access to electoral process among persons with disability in Nigeria.
The executive director of CCD, Mr David Anyaele while addressing the press today in Lagos said that the bill provides for prohibition of discrimination against persons with disabilities and establishment of the commission for PWDs among others, and a five year transitory period during which all must achieve compliance.
Anyaele also called on the president-Elect, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari to demonstrate courage and political will to ensure inclusion and participation, access and the mainstreaming of issues of critical concern to citizens with disabilities in the programmes and activities of his government.
He said the president -elect should remember his campaign promises which include appointment of an ombudsman on persons with disabilities in six geo-political zones of the country to cater for the interest of citizens with disabilities among other promises.
He further called on the newly elected Governors to promote equal opportunity, inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in the state government policies, programmes and activities to ensure that no one is left behind. “Issues such as access to education, healthcare, access to empowerment and rehabilitation programmes for persons with disabilities and elimination of institutional barriers against persons with disabilities are critical ” he said.
Speaking further, he called on all the elected parliamentarians at the National and state level to take appropriate steps to ensure that legislative activities and bills are designed using disability eye lens. ” the greatest change confronting citizens with disabilities today is that the 1999 constitution as amended is silent on discrimination on the grounds of disability. Therefore it becomes pertinent to request all elected parliamentarians to pass bills that will remove all barriers hindering citizens with disabilities participation in socio – economic activities on an equal bases with other members of the society” he added.
Ayanele also commended Prof. Attairu Jega led INEC for the successful conduct of the general elections but implore the organization to take appropriate measures to investigate all cases of organised electoral malpractices, violence and ballot box snatching and to ensure approprita punishment for perpetrators as this is one of the ways of curtailing electoral offenses and culture of impunity that pervasive among political office holders in the country.