The Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), a civil society organisation, has appealed to the Nigerian government and media stakeholders to pay more attention to the rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) stating that good governance is not complete without equitable attention to the PWDs This request was contained in the communiqué issued after a day
The Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), a civil society organisation, has appealed to the Nigerian government and media stakeholders to pay more attention to the rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) stating that good governance is not complete without equitable attention to the PWDs
This request was contained in the communiqué issued after a day of training on Reporting People Living With Disabilities, noting that disability issues are a critical aspect of human rights and sustainable development.
JODER noted that in the 2011 Global Report, 25 million Nigerians live with disabilities, of which 3.6 million have serious functional challenges. It also observed that in 2023, the population of persons with disabilities would have increased significantly to 27 million in Nigeria, indicating that the World Bank has projected that 80-90% do not have access to education and other basic needs in life
Furthermore, in it was stated that according to the United Nations International Children Emergency Funds, 18.5% of the children living with disabilities are out of school.
“In Nigeria, for decades, the issue of PLWDs especially children remains a critical index of national, local socio-political and economic discourse,” the JODER communique reads.
“As of 2023 in Nigeria, it is believed that there are some 27 million people with disabilities.
“Of concern are children living with disabilities in Nigeria. About 18.5 percent of children are out of school according to UNICEF, while the World Bank projects that people with disabilities constitute about 15 percent of populations in developing countries.
“Education policies and the construction of public schools, and public buildings including state and national assemblies across the country are with little or no considerations for PLWDs.Democracy and good governance are not complete without an equitable focus on the rights of PLWDs.
“Education of children with disabilities is confined to very few, poorly staffed, poorly equipped and outdated special schools; in the public sphere, with low public awareness on issues of inclusive education, inadequate institutional and human capacities required to implement inclusive education, or poor implementation, or non-availability of appropriate legal policy frameworks required for the implementation of inclusive education for children with disabilities”
JODER also noted that even though the media has promoted the rights of the PWDs across the country, their reporting is still at the lowest ebbs.
The group observed that the media is still placing the PWDs issues at the lowest points of focus, claiming that Stories concerning PLWDs are treated as sudden events not as a continuum of serious social and economic crisis that the state itself needs to address
“Sometimes, in some media houses, disability stories are seen as ‘soft’ stories that should be in the backwater of the media spaces; The media does not constructively engage political leaders during election seasons on issues of disabilities.
“In many cases, the language employed by the media remains contemptuous, with PLWDs being referred to as ‘victims’, ‘disable’, ‘poor and desolate’, ‘beggars’ and even ‘hoodlums’ when ever they gather to express discontent against the policies of the government.
“The media does not engage the tiers of governments enough on the place of PLWDs on budget conception, planning and execution. The coverage of stories on building and structural development take less consideration of PLWDs”
JODER however appealed to the government to engage on policies which will provide free education and adequate health care as essential needs for the PWDs.
They also advocated for more inclusion of PWDs in the annual budgetary allocation and legal frameworks of the country to further provide comfortable living conditions for them.
“The Nigerian Local, state, and National Governments should be constructively engaged on socio-economic policies like education, health and housing which affect the essential needs of PLWDs;
Recognising the role of the media in the promotion of inclusivity in the country, the CSO urged the media experts to increase their attention on the PWDs reporting.
The group also urged the media to have “tips on reporting PLWDs should be published and circulated in the print and electronic media across the country
JODER also recommended that “Media institutions should further build the capacity of the media to raise issues of Children with a disability to national consciousness and that there should be a national media summit on reporting Children with disabilities with the focal point of reawakening national consciousness on their challenges”