The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD) on Thursday said it remains committed to the proper implementation of provisions of the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) Act saying those who contravene it would be adequately prosecuted.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting and development of an implementation strategy for the popularization of discrimination against PWDs (Prohibition) Act in Abuja, the women affairs minister, Hajiya Aisha Abubakar, said the meeting was aimed at acquainting the stakeholders with provisions of the Act and to come up with a drafting strategy for the new Act.
The minister who was represented by the Director of Rehabilitation, Mrs Nkechi Onuwukwe, said the signing of the Nigerian Disability Law by President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated this administration’s transparency and empathy towards the nation’s vulnerable groups.
“It is the first time in the history of our nation that PWDs are being given their rightful place and attention officially focused on them to highlight their issues and concerns.
“Thus, in a bid to popularise some of the provisions of the new Act, among stakeholders, and equally develop implementation strategies in order to prioritise some of the provisions, this meeting has become very important,” she said.
The minister also called on stakeholders to work together to ensure that millions of Nigeria living with disabilities were given a sense of belonging, adding that all hands must be on deck to work.
The chairman, Nigeria Association of the Blind, FCT, Mr Ekujeronye Obinna, said although the bill had lingered for 18 years, he lauded the President for signing the bill into law.
“No stone should be left unturned; the implementation should be done to the fullest and the establishment of Commission for PWDs will address the plight of PWDs in the country. At least PWDs who are educated could have jobs and it will go a long way to address unemployment,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Ifeoma Anagbogu, who was represented by the Assistant Director of Rehabilitation, Mr Sunday Hezekiah said the meeting would awake the consciousness and responsibilities towards the global realisation that the welfare of PWDs needs attention as one the most important social units of every community.
She said the PWDs in Nigeria are often neglected, discriminated against and stigmatized adding that it was in realisation of this that the bill for an act to ensure their integration into the society and to establish a national commission for them become necessary.