By Chinonso Alozie, Owerri
The House of Representatives said its aim towards the establishment of the disability trust fund was to completely end the issue of discrimination against persons with disabilities as well as give them assess to empowerment funds.
The Chairman House Committee on Disability, Princess Miriam Onuoha, representing Okigwe North in the House of the Representatives, disclosed this to newsmen yesterday after their 2-day disability-inclusive legislature retreat held in Owerri.
She said the committee meeting was to fashion ways for the implementation of the disability Act among other welfare packages to end any form of discrimination against persons with disabilities in the country.
According to the Chairman of the Committee, she said: “There are over 35 million people with disabilities in Nigeria. These rights and privileges as enshrined in the disability Act, have not been properly implemented. The problem of implementing the law is where we are now.
“The purpose of the retreat is to fashion out a robust inclusion of persons with disability in all facets of life. Whether in mobility or recruitment. We have persons with disabilities who are skilful and gainfully employed.
“So that they don’t have the sense of exclusion from the society. Issues of disabilities are issues of human rights and implementing the welfare packages for persons with disabilities is not a favour rather is their rights because Nigeria is a signatory to the convention on human rights with persons with disabilities.
“We are also here to ensure the domestication of the discrimination of persons with disability provisions Act in all states of the Federation.”
On the issue of establishment of the disability trust fund, she said: “The disability Act provides for a lot of things but the pending issue is the lack of funds we thought out as a committee that there is need to create an alternative platform to enable the commission in the implementation of the duties and functions as provided in the Act for those with disability. That is why we have taken up the bill for the establishment of the disability trust fund. It has passed its first reading at the House of Representatives.”
Also speaking, the Country Director of Sightsavers Nigeria, Sunday Isiyaku, said: “It is commendable for the members of the National Assembly to be willing to learn best disability global practices and committed to using the knowledge and deliberation from this retreat to demand disability-inclusive legislation reforms in Nigeria.
“Our collective principle approach is to work and support with the organisation of people with disability and government bodies to prioritise and mainstream disability inclusion across all programs and policies.”