Cedar Seed Foundation, an NGO, has stressed the need for investment in provision of
wheelchair ramps at public event centres to promote social inclusion of People Living With Disability.
A wheelchair ramp is an inclined plane that is installed in addition to stairs to enable wheelchair users, as well as people
pushing strollers and carts to access in and out of premises.
Mrs Lois Auto, the Founder and Executive Director of Cedar Seed Foundation, gave the advice in an interview with
the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
Auto, also the President of Women on Wheels, decried the inability of many PLWD to access the ceremonial hall
during the inauguration of the standing committee of the African Union (AU) Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) in Nigeria.
She said “the call for provision of wheelchair ramps at event centres is a great initiative that will ensure that the legal frameworks
we have at African level and the national level are being implemented.
“It will also ensure that the rights of the vulnerable groups are given to them and one of such legal frameworks is National Disability Act,
Africa Disability Protocol, Agenda 2063 and so on.
“So, what we really want to see is inclusion; just like when I was coming, I had to be carried, because this hall is inaccessible to wheelchair users.
“We need to be carried along in our thoughts, in our actions and all our agenda must be inclusive.
“Like Transcorp Hilton hotel, there is space reserved for drivers with disabilities, but whenever I go to park in such allocated space, we always find vehicles parked there.
“The drivers of those vehicles are able bodied men and women; go to shops, parks and gardens, supermarkets, Churches, Mosques, workplaces,
offices, 90 per cent of our buildings are inaccessible, including houses.”
She narrated the ordeal in her inability to visit relatives because some of them reside on the first, second, third or even fifth floor of residential buildings
without wheelchair ramps.
“No elevator, no ramps in the building plans of many houses.
“It is time that Nigerians begin to think about inclusion in all their agenda, it is time that inclusion is replaced with exclusion.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ECOSOCC is an advisory body of the African Union designed to give civil society organisations a
voice within AU institutions and decision-making processes. (NAN)