By Gbenga Gbelee
As stakeholders begin preparations ahead of the 2019 general elections, President
Muhammadu Buhari has been charge to urgently assent to the Discrimination against Persons
with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill already before him.
The charge according to the Centre for Citizens’ with Disabilities is aimed at guaranteeing
the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) across the country before, during and after the
The centre also wants the government of Lagos State to embark on massive sensitization and
orientation of its officials across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the Lagos
State Special Law and other issues affecting People with Disabilities (PWDs).
These formed part of recommendations from two separate researches carried out by the
Centre for Citizens with Disabilities on the rights of People with Disabilities in Lagos State
The two researches were titled; ‘‘Assessment of Provisions for Persons with Disability in
INEC’s Preparations for the 2019 Elections in Nigeria’’ and ‘‘Compliance of Public
Institutions in Lagos State to the Lagos State Special People’s Law (2011)’’.
The two reports which were released to media houses in Lagos were targeted at bringing the
plights of Citizens with Disabilities to the public glare as momentum gathers ahead of the
2019 elections as well as to ensure the guarantee and protection of the rights of People with
Disabilities in governance.
The report on Assessment of Provisions for Persons with Disability in INEC’s Preparations
for the 2019 polls harped on the need for the electoral umpire to address all forms of
disenfranchisement and discriminations against People with disabilities by making voting
points easily accessible and environmentally friendly to them.
The centre also wants voting materials to be available in Braille, Tactile formats and
Audio/visual formats for People with Disabilities.
The 46 page report also contains the centre’s request for more coordinated enlightenment
programme for the general public, political parties and all well stakeholders on the need to
respect and protect the rights of People with Disabilities as well as guarantee them equal
stake in all facets of life including participation during electoral processes.
The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities through its report on ‘‘Compliance of Public
Institutions in Lagos State to the Lagos State Special People’s Law (2011)’’ also wants full
enforcement of the law which they believe would lead to infrastructural adjustment of all
public institutions to make provision for ramps and other facilities required to aid mobility
and accessibility for people with disabilities into public institutions.
While expressing concern and displeasure over the seeming marginalisation against People
with Disabilities across all facets in Nigeria, the Centre advocated equal treatment with
people without disabilities in terms of employment opportunities.
The Centre also calls for capacity building for INEC officials, heads and key officials in
government ministries, departments and agencies, Disabled Persons’ Organisations and Civil
Society Organisations on the rights of Persons with Disabilities in line with the United
It would be recalled that the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities was set up in 2002 in Lagos
and incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission as a charity organisation, its
responsibilities include educating, supporting and empowering people with disabilities and
their families as well as promoting independent living, human rights and social inclusion for
persons with disabilities in National development efforts.