A group, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) on Friday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently assent to the Disability Bill in view of its importance to people with disabilities.
Mr David Anyaele, Executive Director of the centre, made the appeal at a news conference in Lagos.
He said the bill, which was passed by the National Assembly in March, would improve the lots of people with disabilities if signed into law.
Anyaele said that the signing of the bill would promote inclusiveness of people with disabilities in governance and address the issue of discrimination against them.
“We are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, help to address some of the issues faced by people with disabilities by signing the Disability Bill into law.
“We have been earnestly waiting for the signing of the bill in view of what it could do to address the problems faced by people with disabilities.
“The bill, if signed into law, will no doubt engender inclusiveness of people with disabilities in governance and promote their participation in the political process.
“Also, it will address the issue of discrimination faced by people with disabilities and ensure their real integration into the Nigerian society,” he said.
Anyaele also urged the National Assembly to interface and work closely with the executive arm to ensure speedy assent.
The director said one of salient provisions of the bill was free education for people with disabilities, adding it would build their capacities and reduce poverty, if assented to.
Anyaele urged the federal government to take the destitute with disabilities off the streets and rehabilitate them to give them a sense of belonging.
He suggested that the federal government should use a large portion of the 322 million dollars Abacha loot for that purpose, as people with disabilities constituted most of the extremely poor Nigerians.
Anyaele said there was the need for the country to have a reliable data of people with disabilities for planning purposes.
The director urged the government to direct the National Population Commission (NPC) to take appropriate steps in that direction.
He said the centre was ready to work with governments and other stakeholders in advancing the cause of people living with disabilities.
On the state of the nation, Anyaele bemoaned the killings and attacks in some parts of the country, urging government to provide lasting solutions.
He said that many Nigerians, including a high number of people with disabilities, had lost their lives to the mayhem, urging the government to stop the bloodbath.
Anyaele also appealed to the government to address the needs of the victims, including those who had suffered one form of disability or the other as a result.
The director urged the government to address the “pervasive corruption” in the country as well as the problem of inequality.
Anyaele said corruption had stifled the development of the country and affected quality of lives of Nigerians.
On the forthcoming general elections, he urged political parties to give equal opportunities to people with disabilities to seek political offices.