ActionAid, CCD Lament Discriminatory Practices Against PWDs, Demand Urgent Action

ActionAid, CCD Lament Discriminatory Practices Against PWDs, Demand Urgent Action

…Say Only 2% of Consolidated Revenue Fund to UBE is Devoted to Special Needs …Commend FG for Establishing a Disability Commission, Urging States to Follow Suit …Want FG/States Budget 2022 to Address PWDs Challenges on Education The country’s leading pro poor organization, ActionAid Nigeria and the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), have strongly deplored

…Say Only 2% of Consolidated Revenue Fund to UBE is Devoted to Special Needs
…Commend FG for Establishing a Disability Commission, Urging States to Follow Suit
…Want FG/States Budget 2022 to Address PWDs Challenges on Education

The country’s leading pro poor organization, ActionAid Nigeria and the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), have strongly deplored discriminatory practices against 31 million persons living with disabilities (PWDs), calling for urgent government action to ease their welfare conditions.

While they reveal that only two percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Universal Basic Education Commission is provided for special needs, they also maintain that budgets and plans are not sensitive enough to support inclusion which makes financing inclusive education very difficult.

They urge the Federal and States Governments to ensure that a substantial part of their 2022 budgets is deployed to addressing problems of the PWDs particularly in the area of education.

Executive Director, ActionAid, Ms Ene Obi says, “Despite progress made in ratifying the Policy on Inclusive Education in Nigeria, current education resources are insufficient to achieve inclusive education; only two percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Universal Basic Education Commission is provided for special needs. Budgets and plans are not sensitive enough to support inclusion which makes financing inclusive education very difficult.

She is particularly miffed that the research by ActionAid and partners further revealed that Nigeria lacks the teacher workforce required to deliver inclusive education as they have not received sufficient training to practice inclusion in addition to inadequate fund to purchase the necessary technological materials.

According to her, “Just 20% of $8.3 billion dollars lost to unnecessary tax incentive in Nigeria could pay for the recruitment and renumeration of estimated deficit of 790,422 primary school teachers required in the country.”

While ActionAid Nigeria commends the Federal Government on the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWD) and calls for more investment in infrastructure and public services that account for the needs of this teeming population, and by extension, everybody’s need, Governments, it says, should ensure that PWDs participate equally and meaningfully in all processes; designing, legislating and budgeting for city planning and public transport.

“ActionAid Nigeria urges governments to leverage on additional revenue by closing tax loopholes and limiting unnecessary tax incentives to provide disability friendly public services including public transport.

“We call on state governments to expedite action in domesticating the Disability Commission as further delay will amount to great injustice especially at a time when the world is battling COVID-19, one of the most lethal pandemics in the history of mankind.

“With less than 10 years for attaining the 2030 SDGs, it is crucial that the Federal Government take concrete actions to honour the UN commitments and mobilize all available resources to deliver on SDG4 thereby ensuring no child is left behind especially at a time when the world is dealing with a pandemic.

“As the federal and state government work on the 2022 Appropriation Bill, we remind them that there is still an opportunity to ensure that the budget is sensitive to address disability challenges in the country especially for the education sector. ActionAid will continue to work with PWDs to advocate for the rights, push for their inclusion, support the development of policies and budget for inclusive education,” Obi added.

Speaking in Abuja, she said “ActionAid has been working on disability issues prior to 2015 when world leaders committed to achieving SDG4 to deliver equitable, inclusive, and quality education for all by 2030.

“ActionAid Nigeria’s evidence-based approach to work over the years showcases challenges faced by Persons with Disability, one of which is the disability and gender gaps impacting on their participation in all spheres of life.

“The research revealed a broader exclusion for women who are subjected to harmful stereotypes. This means that whatever the challenge faced by Persons with Disability, women with disability suffer more and are subjected to double discrimination. Poverty and other challenges of exclusion undermine their dignity and places barriers of exclusion in the society”.

This is the same for children with disability in Nigeria. ActionAid’s research on Inclusive education shows that 95.5% of children with disability are out of school because of their non-enrollment due to their condition.

Those who enroll, are less likely to complete their education compared to their peers; this is associated with over-crowded classrooms, inaccessible learning environment, lack of facilities to support their learning as teachers are unable to give them the required support. These have huge impact on their ability to participate in leadership and overall development of the country.

Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Mr David Anyaele, says, “We are worried that 34 months after the passage of the Disability Rights Act, only 13 States have demonstrated measures to adopt the Act.”

The organization commends Lagos, Anambra, Ekiti, Ondo, Plateau, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kogi, Kwara, and Niger States for the passage of disability law in their States and calls on the States governments yet to adopt the National Disability Rights Act to do so without further delay.

This is important, it says, 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 the Federal House of Representatives for the establishment of 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 to ensure that issues of persons with disabilities are given priority at State and Federal level.

“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 non-implementation of the Act by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“This is evidenced by the non-provision of necessary measures to enhance access to buildings of these MDAs, and inclusion of citizens with disabilities in their programmes and activities.”

CCD is highly disturbed that more than 18 months after President Muhammadu Buhari gave directives to MDAs 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, MDAs are not responsive to the directives.

The President went further to direct 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.

“Regrettably, exclusion of PWDs in MDAs programs and activities has continued. We call on heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies to operationalize these directives by the President to ensure the full implementation of the Disability Rights Act

“We are worried that many States across the Federation are struggling to make reasonable budgets 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 that have taken measures to not only pass disability bills but have taken steps to create offices for disability affairs in their various States.

“Acknowledging that Nigeria has signed the United Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities including its optional protocols, we state that SDGs will not be achieved if state and nonstate actors continue to discriminate, isolate, and marginalize over 31 million Nigerians with disabilities in planning and implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.

“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 urge organisations 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 organization posits

December 3rd of every year is marked as 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.

Anyeale says, “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 barriers that hinders citizens with disabilities from participating in the electoral process on equal basis with others.

“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into an Act the Electoral Bill without further delay to open space for necessary actions towards 2023 General Elections,” he contends.

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