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Street Begging/Hawking Law: A Violation of ‎True Change – Persons with Disabilities Tells El-Rufai

Street Begging/Hawking Law: A Violation of ‎True Change – Persons with Disabilities Tells El-Rufai 

By ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna

Disability Association and Organisations of People Living with Disabilities, Kaduna State chapter, has condemned the recent passage of the state ‘Street Begging and Hawking ‎bill into law by the Kaduna state House of Assembly. 

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‎The group said the law is not just disappointing, but also contradictory of all the promises the state governor Malam Nasir el-Rufai made to the during his campaigns and also after he became the governor. 

They further said the law, is a gross violation of true change policy which infringes on the rights of persons with disabilities as upheld by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

‎The group made the accusations Wednesday when they stormed the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna Chpter, in their numbers to protest a bill they said will spell hardship on their members. 

‎According to the spokesman of the group, Julius Shemang, said the governor had promised them in many occasion that adequate provisions will be made for the street beggars in order to proffer solutions to their challenges before the law comes into effect, but that was not the case rather, the bill was passed without recourse to their plight. 

He reminded the governor, “before the 2015 general elections ‎you made mentioned on several occasions during your campaigns that if elected as the executive governor of our State, you will make life comfortable for our members by signing our bill with a commission. 

“When the Guragun (disabled) paid you solidarity visit in your compound, when you were about to travel to Lagos in the build up to the governorship election, you said you will do what you did in Abuja by improving our lots and better our condition of life Kaduna, albeit the disability rights bill and other inclusive policies and programmes.
‎”On 29th December 2014 at Arewa House, where you hosted over 3,000 of our members to sell your candidature, you were informed and briefed on the Kaduna state disability right bill by Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) chairman, and you gave us the assurance for its passage when voted into office, including the provisions of free education and health care services for our members in the state. 

“Also at an interactive section during the Ramadan period on the 14th July 2015, at government house Kaduna with the leadership of JONAPWD and JNI, the bill issue and street begging and Hawking was tabled, the fatherly assurance you gave us again was that street begging and Hawking won’t be banned until solutions are proffered or put in place to improve the living conditions of our members, in addition to setting up Zakat Committee for persons with disabilities welfare under the Bureau for Islamic Affairs.”

‎He added that the also reached the governor through his wife during 2015 World Disabled Day, where the governors wife assured them, adding that they also submitted a memo to the state Assembly on the issue. 

He expressed that, “we are writing to state categorically that the signing and passage of the Street Begging and Hawking Bill without our bill signed with a commission in line ‎with article 4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) will spell more hardship for our members. 

“By this action, it has become clear that the USAID, UNESCO, UN,Equal Rights Disability International, USA and others who are fully involved in the true policy changes were deceived with wrong intention of the bill which grossly violated the UNCRPD‎ and Kaduna State citizens with disabilities. 

“We support the banning of street begging, but first of all we want life to be easier and comfortable for our members in Kaduna State.”

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