The Executive Director of Project Enable Africa, Mr Olusola Owonikoko, has called for concerted efforts to implement the Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act to enhance disability rights and encourage social inclusion.
Owonikoko made this call during the Disability Inclusion and Leadership (DIAL) Awards and dialogue night in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Project Enable is a community development initiative, founded in 2014 to advocate for the rights and empowerment of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
He stressed the importance of a unified approach to ensure the law’s effective enforcement.
Owonikoko noted that it took Nigeria 18 years to pass the bill into law, saying efforts should be made to prevent such delays in future disability-related legislation.
“It is easy to just believe that we have an Act and just move on, but let’s not forget that if we don’t document history and pay attention to it, we will repeat it.
“There are still so many bills and acts around disability that will be passed; we need to understand how those ones will not take 18 years because the Nigerian Disability Act took that long years of advocacy and struggle,” he said.
As the organisation celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disability, Owonikoko highlighted the significance of the full implementation of the Act for the promotion of disability rights and social inclusion.
The DIAL Awards aimed to recognise the resilience of persons with disabilities in Nigeria and showcase a documentary in collaboration with Columbia University, shedding light on the processes leading to the Nigerian Disability Act.
Owonikoko stressed the importance of documenting the struggles and challenges faced by persons with disabilities, expressing hope that the documentary would expedite future legislative processes.
The event also acknowledged the challenges posed by the post-COVID-19 era, particularly for persons with disabilities, and awarded individuals for their outstanding contributions to the disability rights movement.
The Executive Director of Global Hope and Justice, Mr Paul Ihekwoaba, praised the DIAL Awards as a call for continued efforts to improve humanity.
He credited the Former President, Muhammadu Buhari, for signing the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act into law and establishing the National Commission for Persons with Disability.
The awards ceremony featured notable recognitions, including the Disability Inclusion and Accessibility Leadership Award presented to Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, Mohammed Isa.
Isa was honored for his significant contributions to the enactment of the Act, marking a milestone in the advocacy for disability rights in Nigeria.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria