The Executive Director, Disability Rights Advocacy Center, Irene Patrick-Ogbogu, has expressed concern that only five out of the 36 states in Nigeria have disability laws particularly for women and girls.
According to her, the states include Lagos, Plateau, Ekiti, Jigawa and Bauchi state. Irene, who noted this in a paper presentation at the just concluded media round-table organized by DRAC and funded by Christoffel BlindeMission (cbm), explained that the federal government needs to tackle the social and structural discrimination that repudiate access to basic services to women and girls with disabilities.
According to her, “the government needs to invest in services that prevent violence against women with disabilities and support them to play active role in society”.
“All these should be done in development programs through collection of disability disaggregated data in national surveys/research; ensure that national laws and policies prevent and respond to violence against WWD”.
She explained that the world bank and the world health organization reports in 2011, states that over 1billon persons worldwide have one form of disability or the other, adding that 15 percent of the international population around the world is living with one form of disability, projecting Nigeria to have approximately 28million persons with disabilities (PWDs).
“The sex distribution of PWDs is as follows: Male – 40 percent, Female – 60 percent”. She further explained that the appropriate terminology and one way to demonstrate respect for persons with disability are to use disability-positive languages.
Irene said “positive language empowers. When referring to persons with disabilities, it is important to refer to the individual first. “Person first language includes phrases such as ‘person with a disability’, ‘woman who is blind’, ‘man in a wheelchair’.
“However, we also try not to prescribe the language choice of individuals who may choose other terminologies as part of reclamation or self-identification.
“When in doubt, it is okay to ask a person with a disability what language is most appropriate”, she added.
The Executive Director explained that DRAC is an Abuja based non-governmental organization that works to protect the human rights of persons with disabilities, encourage independent living and promote their inclusion in development agenda.
She further said that DRAC also aims to increase awareness about the situation of women with disabilities in Nigeria.
Adelola Tukuru, Abuja