The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has expressed its readiness to partner with the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CDD), an NGO to protect and promote the rights of People with Disabilities (PWDs).
The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Mr Tony Ojukwu, made this known when Mr David Anyaele, Executive Director of CDD visited him on Monday in Abuja.
Represented by Mr Abdulrahman Yakubu, Director, Civil and Political Rights in NHRC, Ojukwu reiterated the commission’s determination to intensify efforts towards protecting the rights of all Nigerians, particularly PWDs.
“We have been working tirelessly to ensure that we keep on protecting the human rights of all Nigerians and we also take special interest in the human rights of persons with disabilities,” he said.
Ojukwu, commended the CDD for monitoring compliance with Discrimination against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Act by government agencies, and pledged NHRC’s commitment to partner with the centre and other stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of the Act.
“We are happy to note that your centre has done many studies to monitor compliance with the Disability Act and this is very commendable.
“We know that one of the challenges we have in Nigeria has to do with effective implementation of laws and your findings have also pointed out that fact and we encourage you to continue to monitor compliance with that Act.
“The NHRC through the Department of Vulnerable Groups and Department of Monitoring of Human Rights Situation will continue to work with you and other organisations working on the rights of PWDs.
“This is to ensure that all the rights in the constitution and the ones in all other regional and national instruments and in particular the convention in human rights of disabilities as well as disability law in Nigeria are effectively implemented.
“It is important because PWDs are groups that more often than not government or society tend to shy away from their responsibilities and that is why it is important that we continue to monitor compliance.
“We know that many states have the disability laws which are very good but it is not enough to have these laws in paper but more important is to ensure these laws translate into the well-being of PWDs,’’ Ojukwu said.
Earlier, Anyaele expressed concerns that Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) lacked the capacity and capability to comply with the Discrimination against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Act.
According to him, this has translated into continued discrimination against over 31 million PWDs with 80 per cent of them living in rural areas.
While noting that MDAs recognised the existence of a disability law signed by Mr President, Anyaele stressed that they lacked the capacity to implement the provisions of this law.
“Discrimination of PWDs by line MDAs remains as it has been which shows that there is clear negligence on the part of authorities regarding their services to Nigerians, particularly PWDs.
“The capacity to implement this law is weak and as such they are struggling on their role and responsibilities in ensuring that the disability act is fully implemented.
“That means whatever programme or activity that the state is deploying to reduce inequality and poverty, PWDs will struggle to benefit,’’ he said.(NAN)