Mr Theophilus Odaudu, the Programme Officer, Disability Rights Fund (DRF) for Nigeria,
says mainstreaming disability into government programmes and policies is imperative toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Odaudu, also the Programme Officer, Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF), disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
in Abuja to commemorate the International Day for People with Disabilities (IDPD).
Annually observed on Dec. 3 around the globe, IDPD aims to promote full and equal participation of persons with disabilities and to take action for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society and development.
The day was proclaimed in 1992 by the UN General Assembly resolution 47/3 and has “Building Back Better: Toward a Disability-Inclusive,
Accessible and Sustainable Post COVID-19 World” as its theme for 2020.
The DRF officer said implementing signed local and international instruments would ensure that public spaces, buildings and services were accessible to all Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
He added that even though there were laws and policies to protect PWDs, implementation was poor, saying “that is why we are supporting Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) to push for the implementation of existing laws and policies; modification of discriminatory ones and formulation of new ones.”
He said the implementation of the National Disability Strategy of 2010–2020 was poor, as PWDs still suffer exclusion.
According to him, persons with disabilities are in every society, hence government should embark on total inclusion drive in every facets of societal life, particularly in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He called for programmes and policies to manage the pandemic and for life after COVID-19.
He noted that “government needs to be deliberate about inclusion and accessibility if sustainable development is the target.”
He said DRF had disbursed over 600,000 dollar grants to OPDs for disability rights advocacy and organisational strengthening across the country in the last three years.
Odauda, therefore, advised PWDs and other stakeholders to be focused, persistent and vocal in calling for the protection of their rights; and to work together as partners and not as competitors.
“It is important that we also consider the most vulnerable and marginalised among us like the deaf, blind persons with psychosocial disabilities, women and girls with disabilities and so on and ensure that their voices are also heard and their rights respected and protected.’’ (NAN)