OrderPaperToday – After 18 years of stalling, the bill to check discrimination against persons living with disability has been signed into law.
Previous administrations under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan refused assent to the bill despite being passed by the National Assembly.
In the wake of renewed pressures for the law to be enacted, President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday night signed the bill into law.
This was disclosed by the the president’s National Assembly liaison officer, Mr. Ita Enang.
It would be recalled that the 8th Senate passed the bill on the 28th of March, 2018 and was transmitted to the President on the 14th of December the same year.
As disclosed by Mr. Enang, the act “prohibits all forms of discrimination on ground of disability and imposes fine of N1,000,000 for corporate bodies and N100,000 for individuals or a term of six months imprisonment for violation concurrently.
“It guarantees right to maintain civil action for damage by the person injured against any defaulter.
“It provides for a five-year transitional period within which public buildings, structures or automobile are to be modified to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including those on wheelchairs.”
Other highlights of the new law include: Provision of purpose built spaces and access in public buildings, walkways etc, placed as priority in queues, accommodation, healthcare, education and emergency.
The law also stipulates against found begging while affected persons are encouraged in participate in politics. It also enables the creation of a commission called National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and headed by an Executive Secretary.
The law further stipulates: “Discrimination is prohibited in public transportation facilities and service providers are to make provision for the physically, visually and hearing impaired and all persons howsoever challenged. This applies to Seaports, Railways and Airport facilities.
“Also, all public organisations are to keep at least 5 % of employment opportunities for these persons.”
Only on Tuesday this week, a coalition of disabled persons resolved to engage in a prayer session today for Buhari to assent to the bill.