Full text of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, press statement to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3, 2021
Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a day set aside by the United Nations to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities. The theme for the 2021 IDPD is “Leadership and Participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world.”. The theme focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’ and recognizes disability as a cross-cutting issues, to be considered in the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually for persons with disabilities on 3rd December around the world. This year’s event is important to us at CCD as it’s the third time we are celebrating this day since the passage and assent by the President of the disability rights Act that is designed to protect more than 31 million citizens with disabilities.
We are marking this day at a time Nigerians are waiting the assent of the President on a Bill for an Act To Repeal The Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 And Enact The Electoral Act 2021, To Regulate The Conduct Of Federal, State And Area Councils In The Federal Capital Territory Elections; And For Related Matters. The Bill provides for the removal of barrier that hinders citizens with disabilities from participating in the electoral process on equal basis with others. We called on the President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into an Act the Electoral Bill without further delay in order to open space for necessary actions towards 2023 General Elections.
We are worried that 36 months after the passage of the disability rights act, only 13 State have demonstrated measure to adopt the Act. We commend States like Lagos, Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo, Plateau, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kogi, Niger, Kwara, and Niger States. We call on the State governments yet to adopt the National Disability Rights Act to do so without further delay. This important because failure in this regard is an indirect endorsement of discrimination and other harmful practices against their citizens with disabilities. It is important for State governments to make inclusion and participation of citizens with disabilities in governance and development programmes a priority, as it is very expensive and difficult to live with disability without government support.
We wish to commend the National Assembly, in particular Federal House of Representatives for the establishment of the an ad-hoc Committee on Disability Affair with Hon. Miriam Onuoha as its Chairperson. We are calling on the Senate and States House of Assemblies to borrow a leaf from the Federal House of Representatives by establishing similar ad-hoc Disability Committees on disability affairs to ensure that issues of persons with disabilities are given priority at State and Federal level.
We wish to appreciate the media and specifically your organization for their continued support to the efforts of the disability community towards increasing the voice of the voiceless (Nigerians with disabilities) in our society through inclusive reportage.
We are concerned that thirty four months after the passage of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, citizens with disabilities are still left behind due to none implementation of the Act by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). This is evidenced by the none provision of necessary measures to enhance access to buildings of these MDAs, and inclusion of citizens with disabilities in their programmes and activities.
We are worried that many States across the Federation are struggling to budget for the integration and rehabilitation of citizens with disabilities, even when they are budgeted persons with disabilities hardly benefit from such provision. However, we commend States like Lagos State, Plateau, Ondo and Anambra States have taken measures to not only pass disability bill, but have taken steps to create offices for disability affairs in their various States.
We are worried that more that 18 months that President Muhammadu Buhari gave directives to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to pay special attention to the peculiarities of persons with disabilities in the formulation and implementation of their policies and programmes, and where suitable their employment. He also directed that all relevant Government agencies pay special attention to the peculiarities of persons with disabilities in the formulation and implementation of their policies and programmes, and where suitable their employment. We call on heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies to operationalized these directives by the President to ensure the full implementation of the Disability Rights Act
Acknowledging that Nigeria has signed the United Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities including it optional protocols, we state that SDGs will not be achieved if state and none state actors continue to discriminate, isolate and marginalize over 31 million Nigerians with disabilities in planning and implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.
We urge organizations of, and for persons with disabilities not to relent in their efforts of promoting and creating awareness on the disability issues at Local, State and Federal level to enhance public understanding, as nothing about us with us.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is a not-for-profit making organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote independent living, human rights and social inclusion of persons with disabilities in development efforts. It also works to educate, support and empower persons with disabilities and their families to maximize their potentials. It was established in 2002 in Lagos and incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja as a charitable organization. CCD successfully led CSOs campaign for the passage of the National Disability Act.
CCDs’ objectives include to initiate and implement programmes, policies and activities geared toward the promotion and enhancement of the welfare of persons with disabilities; To empower or assist in empowering persons with disabilities and regularly access the impact of public policy on human rights and report on same through publications seminars, workshops and lectures; To educate, sensitize, counsel and mobilize persons with disabilities in various areas critical to their survival and progress and support and advocate for respect for the rule of law and due process.
CCD is recognized by Federal and State Ministries, Department and Agencies as a credible NGO working on disability matters. We have over the past eight years sought a redefinition of society’s perception of the plight of persons with disabilities. For more details about CCD, please visit: www.ccdnigeria.org
David O. Anyaele
Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)