From Jane Okafor, 

Abuja

Persons Living With Disabilities(PLWDs) on Friday morning took over the entrance to  the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, in peaceful protest,  asking the Nigerian Government to establish a commission for the implementation of the Disability Act passed into law last year.


The PLWDs in their hundreds, who stormed the SGF office, threatening not to leave until the SGF or representative address them.

They had earlier stopped over at the Justice ministry, seeking to have audience with the Attorney - General and Minister of Justice, Justice Abubakar Malami, to help them relay their message to President Buhari.

After nine years  persistent advocacy by disability rights groups and activists, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018,  on January 2019.

The law makes provision for the establishment of  a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities with  responsibility to ensure that people with disabilities have access to housing, education, and healthcare. 

The Commission will also be empowered to receive complaints of rights violations and support victims to seek legal redress amongst other duties.

The World Health Organization’s 2011 World Disability Report indicates that no fewer than 15 percent of Nigeria’s population, about 25 million people, have a disability. Many of them face a number of human rights abuses including stigma, discrimination, violence, and lack of access to healthcare, housing, and education and employment.

The law prohibits discrimination against persons on the basis of disability and imposes sanctions including fines and prison terms on those who flout it. It also stipulates a five-year transitional period for restructuring public buildings, structures and automobiles to make them accessible and usable by people with disabilities.