United Nations – The Federal Government says it will soon establish a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to serve as the platform for the enforcement of all provisions of the Disability Act.
Dr Habiba Lawal, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, made the disclosure while addressing participants at a UN High-level meeting on persons with disabilities at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday.
“In order to strengthen our commitment to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol, both of which we have ratified, the National Assembly is working assiduously to ensure the passage of the Nigerian Disability Bill into law.
“When passed into law, it will provide for the education, health care and the protection of the social, economic, political and civil rights of persons with disabilities.
“In addition, the Act will provide for the establishment of a National Commission for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), which will serve as the platform for the enforcement of all provisions of the Disability Act,’’ Lawal said.
She noted that to ensure effective service delivery to persons with disabilities, a baseline survey on PWDs was carried out in 2009 and 2010.
According to her, disability data obtained from the surveys have aided the government in the formulation of appropriate intervention measures and strategies for mainstreaming of persons with disabilities toward participation in the socioeconomic and political development of the nation.
She disclosed that the ministry was collaborating with local and international organisations, including Disabled People Organisations (DPOs) at federal, state and local government levels to formulate policies and implement initiatives that would incorporate PWDs in the country’s development agenda.
“We are also establishing structures to mainstream disability perspectives across all the ministries, departments and agencies at the federal level.
“ My country in 2012 endorsed and sponsored the election of Ms Ekaete Judith Umoh as Vice President (African Region), Rehabilitation International, during the 22nd World Congress of the organisation to be held in Incheon, South Korea this October as a mark of her commitment in issues of disabilities,’’ Lawal remarked.
She added that Nigeria was currently undertaking a National Survey of Social Welfare Correctional Institutions.
Lawal said that the outcome would be utilised for the improvement of the nation’s juvenile criminal justice administration for proper guidance and correctional measures to reintegrate discharged juvenile ex-offenders into their families.
“Worthy of note is systems and institutional strengthening of the Social Development Workforce in Nigeria. My Government is working in collaboration with UNICEF/USAID in this respect.
“ A survey has been undertaken to identify the Social Development Workforce in Nigeria to enable capacity building that would ensure quality social welfare delivery services,’’ she said.
The permanent secretary said that the country remained committed to observing May 15 every year as the International Day of Families in line with the proclamation in General Assembly Resolution 47/237.
“We have used the occasion to promote understanding of family issues among citizens and facilitating the mainstreaming of such issues in national development. Nigeria is earnestly looking forward to celebrating the 20th Anniversary of this day in 2014 in consonance with the UN position on this matter,’’ she added. (NAN)