Disability Bill Implementation: Group Calls for Stakeholders Support

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

Disability community in Kaduna state has called for all stakeholders support to ensure passing and effective implementation of the Disability Bill in Kaduna state.

Rilwan Muhammed, Kaduna State Chairman, Physically Challenge Association of Nigeria, who made the call in on Thursday during a One Day Public Policy Dialogue on Persons Living with Disability Bill for improved service delivery, said though the President has assented to the bill at the national level, but the implementation is still a serious task.

“President Buhari, has assented to our bill, but the implementation is still a big challenge. I appeal to all stakeholders to help champion the full implementation of the law and also help pursue the passing of the bill at the state level.

“We cannot do it alone, so we need the support of every stakeholders from both the government and private sectors, the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), to make it a success.” He said.

In his response, the immediate past Special Adviser to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, on Disability, Alhaji Aliyu Muhammad, assured the disability community that the state governor and State Assembly are willing to ensure the bill is passed into law.

According to him, the delay is to ensure the all grey areas are cleared before it will be passed so as to have effective implementation of what it is met to achieve.

“We are hoping that the bill will be passed in a short while in Kaduna. All arrangements have been made since last year and the government is not rest on making sure it is passed.” He added.

Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Baba, on her part thanked PERL for supporting the state to deliver quality services to the people and ensuring that no one was left behind.

Baba, who was represented by the Director, Kaduna State Rehabilitation Board, Aliyu Yakasai, explained that the bill was currently before the Law Review Committee for approval.

“The bill will be sent to the House of Assembly as soon as the committee finished looking at it, and I assure you that it will be pass,” she added.

Similarly, the Commissioner for Justice, Aisha Dikko, said that bill was designed to protect all the rights of person with disabilities, adding that the ministry was in full support.

Dikko, who was represented Deputy Director, legal Drafting, Murtala Halalu, explained that the bill has made provision for the establishment of agency for persons with disabilities and the prosecution of any person that discriminate against PWDs.

“It will also ensure that public buildings in the state make provisions for PWDs, provide brail facilities, sign language experts and special teachers in schools to meets the needs of PWDs,” he added.

The theme of the engagement which was supported by Partnership to Engage, Reform, and Learn (PERL) is “Sustaining Advocacy through Public Policy Dialogue on Passage of Persons with Disability (PWDs) Bill for improved Service Delivery.”

PERL is a DFID program aimed at supporting more effective and sustainable delivery of public goods and services that meet citizens’ needs, contributing to inclusive growth and poverty reduction in Nigeria. The Engaged Citizens Pillar (ECP), an initiative of PERL, aims to contribute to this by supporting constituencies to increase their effectiveness at engaging governments on selected service delivery and policy issues, in hopes to increase the overall benefits for the Nigerian people.

In his remarks, State Team Leader of PERL, Adejor Abel, the engagement is aimed at consolidating efforts toward passing the law at the state level and improve inclusive participation of excluded citizens’ constituencies especially Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in governance process of Kaduna State.

Adejo, said DFID was supporting the process in the spirit of social inclusion to ensure that no one is left behind in the development agenda of the state.
Adejo noted that PWDs participates in every election in the state and, therefore, should be given recognition and space to participate and contribute their quota in the development process.

Over six different disability groups, state assembly committees of Human Services and Social Development, Judiciary, Public Petition and Media Public Affairs, also CSOs and Media participated at the engagement.

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