By Abayomi Adeshida
A coalition of public-spirited organisations based in the United States of America has appealed to the Federal Government to without further delay, be transparent and be seen to be truthful in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030 Agenda to guarantee the future of the over thirty million Nigerians living with disabilities.
In an open letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari over the weekend and obtained by Vanguard in Abuja, the letter signed by the spokesman of the group President/CEOEqual Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc, Chief Eric Ndbuueze Ufom, the group observed that the deliberate refusal to ignore all known solutions to the problems of the Nigerians living with disabilities would adversely affect the achievements of the sustainable development goals as set out by the United Nations.
In the letter which were copied many world leaders, the group affirmed that, “We the Nigerian-Americans with Disabilities Living in the United States and our Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs), Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc., FESTAC-USA, Inc, Kaysom Holding, Inc, and also our allies, moves to humbly and respectfully DEMAND from you to please Sir, “LET MY PEOPLE GO,” due to the following valid, arguable and verifiable reasons.
” Please Sir, because of our well documented truthful, valid, debatable and verifiable statement of fact(s), this letter is being written, as an ‘OPEN LETTER’ and also, ‘CARE OF’ several High-Level International bodies and News Media.
“With due respect, please Sir, note that the freedom, destiny, health and safety of over 31 million Nigerians with Disabilities, are in our hands. We are very angry and don’t owe you or anybody apology for our non-violence actions.
It is also because per our more than 2 decades direct experience dealing, advocating and negotiating with the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo, Late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, and President Goodluck Jonathan, during the UN 8th Sessions Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral … International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities [A/RES/60/232], including when you signed into law the, Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, it was only when we go public that all of you responded, but still grossly continued violating the UN CRPD, Article 4 – General obligations (4.3), while reluctantly answering to us”, the group stated.
Continuing in the same letter, the group said, Sir, as we unapologetically, continue following the positive footsteps, vision and mission of our predecessor and father of advocacy, the ADAPT-USA’s, community, Mr. Wade Blank, who said, “Anger is the Root of all Advocacy Efforts,” we are very ANGRY. ”
“Therefore Sir, because we have valid reasons to be angry, within the next 30 days and beyond, we will be engaging ourselves into several, non-stop massive, non-violence, workable tools, advocating, negotiating and DEMANDING from you to please, “LET MY PEOPLE GO.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbAStbavOK4).”
If you fail to without further delays address our valid concerns by establishing an independent, Implementation Commission, which will guarantee, FREEDOM for 31 million Nigerians with Disabilities and “LETTING MY PEOPLE GO,” Disability-Inclusive Development, National annual Budgets and SDGs, 2030 agenda, we will, (a) Start the Process of filling official grievance to the United Nations Secretary-General; United Nations Secretarial for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); United Nations Security Council; International Disability Alliance (IDA); United Nations Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), United Nations Office of the High Commission on Human Rights (OHCHR), pursuant to the, UN CRPD, (a) Article 4 – General obligations; (b) Article 5 – Equality and non-discrimination; (c) Article 11 – Situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies; (d) Article 12 – Equal recognition before the law; Article 13 – Access to justice; (e) Article 16 – Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse (f) Article 32 – International cooperation; (g) Article 29 – Participation in political and public life ; (h) Article 33 – National implementation and monitoring; (i) Article 35 – Reports by States Parties and (k) Article 37 – Cooperation between States Parties and the Committee.
” Please Sir, note that the ongoing Covoronovirus (COVID-19) Pandemic is a new World ORDER, which came with anger, to permanently change and correct the World’s Community’s wrong doings against, over 31 million Nigerians and one billion persons with disabilities worldwide.
Sir, with due respect, COVID-19 pandemic clearly exposed, more than one century’s old (1914 amalgamation of Nigeria by the British), continued, Injustice, marginalization, discriminations, torture, lack of disability-inclusive development, national/states annual budget, etc…, against Nigerians with Disabilities, by the National Assembly, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Governors, members of the House of Assemblies and local Government Chairmen of the 36 states of Nigeria, to include FCT, Religious Groups, Kings (with the exception of Nri Kingdom of Anambra State) and others.
“Sir, with due respect, COVID-19 pandemic clearly exposed how the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration, knowingly or deliberately and intelligently, conspired with each other, has failed, to be truthful in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030 Agenda”, the body stated.
Religious leaders who were copied with the letter included His Holiness, Pope Francis in the Vatican City; The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, Worldwide Anglican Communion, Lambert Palace London; both The Most Rev’d Archbishop Foley Beach, Chairman and The Most Rev’d Archbishop Dr. Benjamin Kwashi, General Secretary, GAFCON Global Anglicans, Kingston Road, Surrey UK and His Eminent Dr Samson Ayokunle, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Garki, Abuja, FCT Nigeria.
Other world leaders who also got copies of the letter included Mr. António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, New York; Dr. Amina J. Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, New York as well as His Excellency Ambassador Prof. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the United Nations 74th Session of the General Assembly, New York.
Similarly, Ms. Michelle Bachellet Jeria, High Commissioner
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was sent a copy in Geneva, Switzerland.