Persons with disabilities are the blind, the lepers,the deaf and the cripple etc. They are beggars moving around looking for alms to feed,cloths and housed themselves. Often times, persons with disabilities are relegated to the bottom strata of hierarchy in the society by their fellow human beings.
Many of them face a number of human rights abuses including stigma, discrimination, violence, and lack of access to healthcare, housing, and education.
Following years of relentless advocacy from different quarters in the country by disability rights groups and civil society organizations,a law was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.
According to an online documents, “The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and imposes sanctions including fines and prison sentences on those who contravene it. It also stipulates a five-year transitional period for modifying public buildings, structures, and automobiles to make them accessible and usable for people with disabilities.”
“National Commission for Persons with Disabilities will also be established and be responsible for ensuring that people with disabilities have access to housing, education, and healthcare. The Commission,when established will also be empowered to receive complaints of rights violations and support victims to seek legal redress amongst other duties”.
With all the above legal backings and provisions on the rights and welfare of persons with disability in the country, with the exception of few, many of these laws appears to be more theoretical than practical.
Prevailing situations of the persons with disabilities among us will give a clue that these precious treasure are yet to enjoys the said laws meant for them and hence need for authorities concern and well meaning individual to put more efforts in ensuring that they are all catered for and give all the necessary support they required to become productive in their own ways as against the sad situation of them becoming beggars and nuisance in the society.
Moribund social welfare agencies/ ministries should be upgraded and put back to work. This special agency in many states today are the shadow of their former self as a result of years of neglect by the authorities. Guidance and counselling unit’s personnel of these institutions should first be equipped with the necessary knowledge and techniques to begin the processes of enlightenment campaigns and counselling to the doorsteps of these important segment of the society to accept the new idea.
Some of these people with disabilities are treasures to many skills,experienced and professional, there are talented athletes,artisans ,there are professional among them whom are doctors, lawyers,teachers, engineers etc.
For this and many more not mentioned, there is need for the leadership to use all within its powers to ensure that these laws are put into practice. They should also consider them in their social responsibilities program of employments opportunities, empowerment programs, educational supports and any other productive ventures they used to offer.
Special education centers/schools be declared hundred percent free and compulsory, equipped with the state of the arts learning facilities and a stipulated punishments to those who refused to be enrolled. For the old ages, a special welfare package also to be provided to keep them off the streets.
Isyaka Laminu Badamasi,writes from Bauchi and can be reached on 08033665510,[email protected]