INCLUSION: Reps Reaffirm Commitment to Effective Oversight Of Disabilities Act

  • Disabilities Committee condemns KFC incident, invites management
  • Committee Chair urges State governments to domesticate Disability Act

The House of Representatives has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring a full implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act by individuals, government agencies and corporate organisations across the country.

A move in line with Agenda Six: Inclusion and Open Parliament of its Legislative Agenda which prioritises oversight of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Act 2018 towards ensuring that its provisions regarding discrimination, healthcare, accessibility, education, employment, and healthcare are enforced.

Chairman of the House Committee on Disabilities, Rep. Bashiru Ayinla Dawodu (APC, Lagos), disclosed this on Tuesday, while addressing the House of Representatives Press Corps at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja.

Rep. Dawodu in condemning a recent incident where a wheelchair user, Adebola Daniel, was denied access to a KFC Outlet at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, stated that the Committee is duty-bound to investigate the issue and other related matters.

“Recently, there have been distressing reports regarding the denial of access to Mr. Adebola Daniel at a KFC outlet in the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

“We have invited KFC and there will be an investigation which will be based on House rules. This discriminatory incident, highlighted by Mr. Daniel’s public account, sheds light on the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in Nigeria,” Rep Dawodu added.

Noting that the case of Mr. Daniel is one among millions of other unreported cases of such abuses and injustices against people with disabilities, the lawmaker stressed that it will no longer be tolerated by governments at all levels irrespective of the culprits’ status.

“As the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Disability Matters, I strongly condemn such actions. Denying individuals with disabilities access to public spaces is not only disrespectful but also undermines ongoing efforts to implement the Disability Act.”

In highlighting the authority of the National Assembly to oversee the enforcement of laws, including the Disabilities Act, he stated that the committee will monitor the compliance of government agencies in various sectors like recruitment, housing, transportation, and healthcare.

The Committee Chairman also commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen PhD for establishing the Committee and the proactive responses of the Federal and Lagos State governments towards protecting the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

“State governments are urged to domesticate the Disability Act, following the lead of Lagos State. The Ministry of Information plays a crucial role in raising awareness about persons with disabilities to foster their inclusion in public discourse.”

Rep Dawodu stated the importance of all stakeholders, including businesses to adhere to the provisions of the Disability Act and gave an assurance of his Committee’s commitment to engage communities in the implementation of the Act.

“The Discrimination against People with Disabilities Prohibition Act 2018, passed by the National Assembly, aims to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities. However, compliance with this Act has been lacking since the grace period ended in January,” he noted.

Nigeria ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007 and its Optional Protocol in 2010. On January 23, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari further signed the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act (DPDPA), 2018, into law.

The Act however, stipulated a five-year transitional period within which public buildings, structures or automobiles are to be modified to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including those on wheelchairs.

The moratorium on the provisions of the Act expired in January 2024 which effectively implied that anyone in breach of it, is in contravention of the law.

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