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Open letter to Minister of Humanitarian Affairs

We, the Coalition of Disability Organisations (CODO) have decided to go back to our earlier resolve to stay at home and risk our lives and…

We, the Coalition of Disability Organisations (CODO) have decided to go back to our earlier resolve to stay at home and risk our lives and demand for our rights from the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19. This is to show the world how insensitive our government is to the plights of persons with disabilities in the time of emergencies.

The government ignored us again which is a sign of abysmal neglect and marginalisation of over 25 million Nigerians with disabilities.

The PTF on COVID-19 should present a clear-cut plan on how to provide palliatives for persons with disabilities and the provision should start immediately because persons with disabilities are most vulnerable among other social groups. Again, a person with disability should be appointed as a member of the PTF.

The honourable minister should as a matter of urgency include PWDs in the CCT programme and no cash payments please as we have traceable addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts and BVN.

The UN Treaty in which Nigeria is a signatory mandates in Article 4, titled General Obligation, especially, in Section 4.3 that: “In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities including children with disabilities through their representative organisations.

This is not considered as no person with disability is a member of the PTF on COVID-19.

The Nigeria Disability Act 2018 prohibits all forms of discrimination against persons with disability.

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has clearly discriminated against us.

The law imposes a fine of one million naira on corporate bodies.

PTF on COVID-19 should be so fined.

All public organisations are to reserve at least five per cent of employment opportunities for these persons. PTF on COVID-19 is not exempt from this.

Part 5, Article 25 of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 clearly states that: “In all situations of risk, violence, emergencies and the occurrences of natural disasters, the government shall take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and protection of persons with disabilities taking cognisance of their vulnerability”.

This is not being followed by their actions.

You would recall that this government signed the Disability Bill into law which provides that at a time like this, PWDs should be first priority, we are surprised that the government is not implementing the same law they enacted and demand that government rises to its responsibility especially for the over 25 million PWDs amongst whom, many of can’t see, walk, hear, sit or dress themselves up.

We are demanding that government works in accordance with the law of the land as contained in the Nigeria Disability Rights Act.

Finally, Ma, note that we will not entertain any entreaties from any Director of Rehabilitation who is not a Person With Disability. Please follow the law. Nothing About Us Without Us.  Enough is Enough.

Thank you, Ma.

 

Dr. Chike Okogwu, Interim Convener; Lady Kemi Ogunjinrin, Muhammad Bulkachuwa, Christian Agbo, Lynda Katai Dung, Isaac Nosa Ehigiator, Ayuba Burki Gufwan, Vivian Odimegwu, Patience Ogolo-Dickson, Biodun Olugbade, Mohammed Bello Suleiman, and Comrade Oyedeji Olusegun Abayomi, The Coalition of Disability Organisations (CODO)

 

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