The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Mr James David Lalu has indicated that all “hands must be on Deck” for Persons with Disabilities to survive.
Lalu gave the indication during his recent visit to the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS in Abuja.
Lalu seized the occasion to appreciate the EU for its support over the years as he equally underpinned the importance of having a more robust partnership with the organization.
According to him, it will promote the inclusion of Persons With disabilities in accessing quality health care, guaranteed standard education amongst other benefits to the community.
The executive secretary likewise reiterated the fact that the Commission in its second year has recorded some achievements through advocacy for the employment of persons with disabilities.
“This was in the area of monitoring for compliance to the 5% engagement in various MDAs as provided by the 2018 Disability law” he said.
Explaining further he indicated that the Disability community has a population of about 35 million mentally able persons who can contribute significantly to the growth and development of the society.
He added that the production of the Sign language dictionary which contains about 3 thousand words recorded a tremendous success.
The disability commission boss disclosed that the dictionary will be upgraded to an edition that will contain about 6 thousand words in order to serve as a unifying tool for a multi- lingual society like Nigeria.
“Another milestone recorded by NCPWD is the development of minimum accessibility standards which mandates every public building to comply with the National disability code in order to guarantee ease of access by PWDs using public infrastructure”
In order to protect the rights of PWDs, Lalu informed the EU delegation of the quick response unit set up in the Commission to respond and track the location of complainants who have been abused or discriminated against and needs justice.
“The Commission is equally in collaboration with the legal Aid Council where there is an opportunity to get probono services to handle prosecution.
This he said is also in tandem with the recent collaboration with office of the Attorney- General of the Federation to give fundamental cover to the rights of PWDs” he stated.
According to him, the Commission had met with the National Commission for Colleges of Education to get the consent of the regulatory body to inculcate the basic knowledge in sign language into the schools’ curriculum.
In his response, the team lead and Head of section, Democracy and Governance, Mr. Clement Boutillier expressed satisfaction at the excellent impacts the Commission has made under the leadership of James Lalu in such a record time.
He further hinted that the United Nation has established a 7-year partnership with stakeholders in Nigeria to advance the course of persons with disabilities.
Speaking further, the EU representative commended the synergy created by the Commission with the Nigeria police in the enforcement of the rights and dignity of PWDs.
In the same vein, he applauded the recent innovative voting procedures initiated by INEC for the inclusion of PWDs in the electoral process.
Mr. Clement communicated the 10-year strategic plan developed by EU to holistically examine the fundamental issues that border on the general well-being of Persons with Disabilities. He promised that the Disability community will always be carried along in the programmes of the European Union.