by crossriverwatch admin
The Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Ben Angwe has reiterated his commissions readiness to ensure that all Nigerians within and outside the shores of the country are accorded their fundamental rights with special focus on the disabled.
He barred his mind in the just concluded one day sensitization meeting on “Access to Public Buildings by Persons with Disability” held recently in Calabar.
Prof. Angwe said: “We are conscious of our duties and after carrying out serious assessment on the entire needs of the citizenry we discovered that those with one or two disability are mostly at the detrimental ends, which is why we have taken the first bold step of partnering with the relevant stakeholders to first of all sensitize the populace”.
He added that many are not aware that both the national and international government have long time ago put in place several structures to ensure that their rights are enshrined and enforced to get the maximum cooperation of the society to respect and carry those not opportune to have complete formation of body and mind. “We are going to ensure that these disabled persons become aware and be assisted to rise up to that level of achieving their fundamental rights by enjoying the dividends”, Angwe maintained.
“As the first task, we commissioned a body of researchers/resource persons to go round the country and audit public buildings and places that should enable all Nigerians access such facilities and know if provisions are made for people living with disability”, the Executive Secretary disclosed, adding that anyone who violates those inalienable rights of the disabled as mandated by the law will be punished by the law. “The commission has the responsibility of ensuring that such offender be punished and the decision comes as a court judgment”, he asserted.
In a report submitted by three researchers/resource persons to the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC on 29 November, 2013 titled “Report of the audit of public buildings in Lagos” which was discussed in the event, Architect Olumuyiwa Oluwole, one of the researchers, said the report focused on the extent people with disability suffer in assessing public buildings, “We selected some buildings based on certain criteria to carry out our observation, some of which are Ministry of Lands, Office of the Surveyor General, Ikeja Shopping Mall etc all in Lagos State”, he disclosed.
On his part, Raymond Onyegu Esq. another researcher of NHRC who spoke on “The Rights of People Living with Disability”, said the “World Health Organization estimates that in Nigeria there are approximately 19 million disabled people which is about 20% of the country’s population, but the National Planning Commission has over time confirmed that there is no accurate record of people living with disability in Nigeria but a bigger problem is the way the government treats disability as a welfare or charity package not as human right issue which is wrong”.
He maintained that it is the duty of the government in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders to care and provide for the disabled and until that is given its right place even growth and development will be difficult to attain.
Also speaking was a representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Mrs. Olubunmi Adebiyi who disclosed that she is the first visually impaired person employed by the CBN and provided with necessary aids. Nothing that “disability only comes from the disadvantage the society creates and lack of awareness”.
She maintained that with adequate sensitization the society will be a better place for all irrespective of any form of disability, adding that CBN is still committed to helping the disabled in cash and kind which is why she’s present at the one day sensitization program.
Representative of the United Bank of Africa, UBA, Mr. Uhunuoma Ojo disclosed that because of the numerous challenges faced by disabled people his organization has laid down modalities to ensure that its branches all over the country are given a facelift to include easy by the disabled.
Participants were drawn from civil society groups, students, various groups of the disabled, and banks.
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