NHRC To Audit Public Buildings

The National Human Rights Commission is to carry out accessibility audit of public buildings in the country to ascertain their accessibility by persons with disabilities.  Prof. Bem Angwe, the Commission’s Executive Secretary disclosed this when he visited the Managing Director of Federal Housing Authority, (FHA) Arc. Terver Gemade at the FHA Headquarters today.

According to Prof. Angwe, persons with disabilities have rights to easy and unhindered access to all public buildings, which must be respected.  “All public buildings must be provided with ramps for wheel chair users and elevators fitted with audio, rail, brailed numbering and mirrors to cater for the needs of disabled persons”. 

Prof. Angwe said he commenced advocacy visits to selected government establishments in order to mainstream human rights in the services provided by ministries departments and agencies of government.

Right to housing, he observed, is fundamental and it promotes the enjoyment of several other rights, including right to life, health, and the dignity of the human person. Homeless persons, he observed, are vulnerable to all kinds of human rights violations including exposure to diseases, rape and extrajudicial killings.

While commending the FHA for providing relatively affordable houses to Nigerians, Prof. Angwe called on the government to discharge its constitutional obligation by providing Nigerians with adequate shelter through empowering agencies like the FHA.

Responding, Arc. Gemade expressed readiness to collaborate with the NHRC. He said FHA has the mandate to provide mass housing across the country but regretted that inadequate funding had hindered their operations.  He said FHA was removed from the federal budget about 10 years ago, forcing it to source for funds from commercial banks.  This development, he said partly explains the relative high cost of houses provided by the Agency.

He said although they have not fully addressed disability concerns in the designs of their buildings, they have always assisted disabled persons towards owning their own houses.