President Bola Tinubu has received fresh documents highlighting the urgent need to address the needs of Nigerians living with Disabilities, PWDs. The reports were presented to the President in Abuja through the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the President, Mr. Tunde Rahman.
Receiving the report, Mr. Rahman said the new government is unwavering in its commitment to addressing the fears and aspirations of People with Disabilities, PWDs. He said the President is deeply concerned about vulnerable communities including but not limited to PWDs. President Tinubu had said in his maiden address to Nigerians that his government would pay special attention to people in special needs.
The Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights, JODER Mr Adewale Adeoye made the presentation in Abuja during the week. He described Mr Rahman as a man with rare sense of honesty, dedication, loyalty and uprightness adding that he continues to command the respect of top media practitioners and the civil rights movement in Nigeria
Rahman said the media has an important role to play in highlighting the plight of PWDs to ensure they are fully integrated into the country’s social and economic framework.
Earlier, the JODER team had met with leading human right organisations in Abuja to promote the media group and Ford Foundation West Africa Region work on PWDs.
No fewer than 4 million Nigerians currently live with disabilities, majority of them are confronted with challenges of exclusion from social and economic opportunities. At the National Assembly, the reports were received from JODER by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Legislative Matters, Hon. Ibrahim Olarenwaju. He expressed delight at the work of JODER on PWDs, saying that the President and the National Assembly are more than ever before determined to address the needs of Nigerians with Disabilities to ensure greater socio economic opportunities.
He said the President and the National Assembly are aware of the plights of People with Disabilities, PWDs urging the civil society to work with the National Assembly in its determination to address the fundamental needs of PWDs. Honourable Akin Rotimi who also received the report said for the first time the National Assemby have more younger people who are determined to address the plight of Nigerians in various sectors with a rare zeal and sense of deep patriotism. Hon Rotimi is one of the youngest members in the House of Representatives.
The documents presented included reports on the challenges faced by PWDs in Nigeria, expectations from the government, the society and the training manual for journalists reporting PWDs apart from the comprehensive information on the Community Support Centre and Awareness Creation for Children with Disabilities recently set up in Lagos with the support of the Ford Foundation West Africa Region.
JODER highlighted in the report that Nigeria had already ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights of PWDs, while at the local level, the Nigerian government has signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Act, 2018 plus the Lagos State Special People Law.
JODER noted that some of the challenged were posted in the last national elections, in the same pattern for previous ones, when the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) did not make provisions for PWDs to enhance their capacity to vote with ease.
JODER stated in the report that “The Nigerian media have done a lot in promoting the rights of PWDs, but efforts are far from being enough, in some media spaces, PWDs are still considered as less importance in the allocation of media space, stories concerning PWDs are treated as sudden events, not as a continuum of serious social and economic crises that the state itself needs to address.”
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