Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC) applauds the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari for the emergence of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act
Disability Rights Advocacy Center (DRAC) is immensely pleased with the news that the Discrimination Against Persons with disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 has received Presidential Assent from His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.
This marks a truly important day for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Disability Community in particular.
A day where the value and dignity of Persons with Disabilities have been upheld. A day where we have come together as a country and said we will no longer accept a culture of discrimination and unrestrained exclusion of Persons with Disabilities, often targeting our most vulnerable. And, a day where the tireless work of all those who have been advocating for the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act can finally be celebrated.
DRAC would like to extend a warm and generous thank you to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and to all our donor agencies that helped us get here today. Together, we have ensured a brighter and safer future for our country Nigeria.
The Act prohibits all forms of discrimination on ground of disability and imposes prison terms and/or fines for corporate bodies and individuals for violations, it guarantees right to maintain civil action for damage by the person injured against any defaulter.
It also provides for a transitional period within which public buildings, structures or automobile are to be modified to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including those on wheelchairs.
The Act further prohibits discrimination in public transportation facilities and service providers are to make provision for the physically, visually and hearing impaired and all persons howsoever challenged. This applies to Seaports, Railways and Airport facilities.
Other rights rights and privileges contained in the Act include education, healthcare, priority in accommodation and emergencies as well as a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to monitor compliance and promote welfare of all persons with disabilities.
Having this legislation in place is an important first step in protecting Persons with Disabilities but it is only one part of the process.
The crux of the matter is that moving forward, we must make sure that our government and her agencies have the resources they need to effectively and efficiently manage cases of discrimination meted against Persons with Disabilities.
We must empower our Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) and other Civil Society Organizations to provide critical support that will both prevent and respond to issues affecting Persons with Disabilities. We must take rigorous steps towards genuinely implementing our National, Regional and International obligations that reinforce our commitment to protecting Persons with Disabilities. We must all work together to change the harmful attitudes and norms that for too long have allowed this kind of discrimination to consume our nation.
We rejoice in this significant and transformative achievement.
Disability Rights Advocacy Center