17 years after, disability law still remains a mirage

OrderPaperToday – The quest to ease life and living for persons with disability in Nigeria remains much of a pipe dream as the National Assembly is yet to take any action on the Disability Bill that has been before for almost a decade.

This has caused the Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, David Anyaele, to lament the fate of the disabled who mark the years’ international week for persons living with disabilities without any succor in sight.

Anyaele lamented bitterly at the way the bill has been treated over since 2000 when it was first introduced into the federal legislature.

He revealed how several members of the National Assembly have sponsored and held several public hearings on the bill but yet it always reached its dead end.

He said plans have been concluded not only to march round the Eagle Square in Abuja but also to occupy the National Assembly to force the two chambers to fish out the bill wherever it is hidden.

According to Anyaele, the bill was tracked till December 6, 2016 when the Senate version of the bill was adopted at a conference committee meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

In fact, that on March 3rd 2017, disability advocates visited the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, to establish reassurance that the bill would be passed.

Anyaele said: “As I speak to you, the bill is nowhere to be found. We are asking where the Nigeria Disability Bill is. The National Assembly must tell Nigerians where the Disability Bill is.

“It becomes necessary to call on the National Assembly to locate the bill, pass it and transmit it to the President for assent. Without passage of the bill, the lives and welfare of over 25 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria will continue to be in disarray.

“It is the duty of the state to protect the vulnerable group in the society. We are drawing attention of Nigerians to the missing bill.

“We are asking why the bill must last this long. It has turned to a cash cow. Every session that come, they will promote the disability bill, organize public hearing, spend money and there it ends.

“We will hold a warning protest, move round the Eagle Square to draw attention to the missing bill and ask that the bill be located wherever it is.”

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