A group, Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to include persons with disabilities (PWDs) in his administration to ensure fairness and equity.
The group made the call in a press conference in Abuja on the state of Affairs of Nigerians with Disabilities.
The National President, Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu, said there was the need to build barriers against the stigma that persons with disabilities were confronted with.
He said that it was an unfortunate reality that PWDs in Nigeria often face significant barriers to accessing basic rights and opportunities.
“In spite of the progress made in recent years, we continue to witness the marginalisation and exclusion of this significant population.
“As the leader of our great nation, you have the power to change this narrative and make a resounding statement about the values and potentials of PWDs.
“By including PWDs in your cabinet, you would not only ensure their representation in decision-making processes but also harness their unique perspectives and expertise,” he said.
According to him, the experiences and insights of PWDs can greatly contribute to the development and implementation of policies that address the specific needs and challenges faced by the community.
He added that their inclusion would bring about more comprehensive and effective governance, fostering a society that truly upholds the principles of equality, diversity and social justice.
“Furthermore, appointing PWDs to influential positions in your government would serve as a powerful symbol of inclusivity, sending a clear message that Nigeria embraces and values the contribution of every citizen, regardless of their abilities.
“This act of leadership would inspire other sectors of the society to follow suit and create a ripple effect of positive change that extends far beyond the political realm.
“It will also send a powerful message to the society, dispel misconceptions and prejudices surrounding disability as well as serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for countless PWDs who often face systemic barriers and limited opportunities due to societal attitudes and biases.
The group also urged the new administration to consider the operations of the National Coordinator, People With Disabilities, under the office of the President, particularly with the continuation of Mr James Lalu as the Executive Secretary of the commission.
It said achieving this would definitely serve to sustain multiple-sectoral correspondence for addressing the Systmatic barriers militating against PWDs in Nigeria.
The group further called on government to design measures to cushion the effect of subsidy removal as it affects PWDs.
It said PWDs must have access to the existing and proposed social protection programmes with focus on women and children with disabilities.
“This also implies developing specific schemes that explicitly promote social inclusion, while providing the required additional support to under represented groups within the movement such as also persons with deaf, blindness and others.
They also want an immediate dialogue between stakeholders and meaningful participation of employers, trade unions and other civil society groups and PWDs inclusive.