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NGOs call on Nigeria to adopt landmark Disability Law

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By Victoria Onehi

Sightsavers’ Equal World Campaign in  partnership with The African Union and the African Disability Forum has called on Nigerian government to adopt the iandmark Disability Law protocol and ensure that the rights of people with disabilities were upheld.

The International Development Organisation’s Head of Media, Joy Tarbo disclosed that Nigeria is one of the first West African countries to ratify the African Disability Protocol, ADP, but action was needed to push it across the finish line. 

In a statement she said, “This is why Sightsavers’ Equal World Campaign, in partnership with the African Union and the African Disability Forum, is urging governments and leaders to adopt the protocol and ensure the rights of people with disabilities are upheld.

“The human rights protocol addresses forms of discrimination that specifically impact people with disabilities living in Africa. It supplements the provisions of the existing African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

Nigeria could lead the way. The protocol needs to be adopted by the Federal Executive Council and endorsed by the National Assembly.” The said.

Also, Sightsavers Nigeria Country Director, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku said “We are so close to making this critical step forward in protecting the rights and dignity of people with disabilities in Nigeria. Now, more than ever, we must ensure that those who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic are prioritised and protected.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disability, Mr. James David Lalu said the treaty is a vital instrument in tackling discrimination and inequality and improving the lives of millions of people with disabilities.He gave the assurance that Nigeria shall sign the treaty and ratification process shall follow suits.

“Nigeria must take the leadership at these critical times,” Lalu assured

“We are counting on Nigeria to step up and take the lead in creating a safer, more accessible Africa.”

The African Disability Protocol was adopted in 2018 by the African Union, to address forms of discrimination affecting people with disabilities living in African countries. 

It is an additional protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1981) to set standards and promote and protect human rights in Africa. For the protocol to come into force, at least 15 member states must sign and ratify it. So far Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Mali and Rwanda have ratified, and several others are nearly there.

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