The National Orientation Agency (NOA) says it is sensitising stakeholders to the need for involvement of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the National Disability Act 2018.
The State Director of NOA in Niger, Malam Yahaya Gbongbo, said this at the sensitisation on public/enlightenment campaign on disability inclusion on Thursday in Minna.
He added that the sensitisation was to achieve disability inclusion in all sectors.
President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 signed Disability Bill 2018 in an act to give people living with disabilities full participation and inclusion in all sectors of the society.
Gbongbo explained that since the bill was signed into law, there had been little or no major progress made in the implementation of the disability act 2018.
“This is due to low awareness on the part of the public about the content of the act, ignorance of stakeholders on their roles and responsibilities in relation to implementing aspects of the act.
“Others are lack of adequate knowledge of persons with disabilities on their rights as guaranteed under the disability act,” he said.
He noted the public enlightenment campaign was to sensitise stakeholders to the benefits of integrating people with disabilities in various sectors and recognise them as partners in national development.
In her address, the chairman of the occasion, Hajiya Asebe Garba, said that it was worrisome that the Disability Act 2018 had yet to be fully implemented as many people with disabilities still face stigmatisation from the society.
She said that people with disabilities were seen as people who do not have anything to offer to the society.
Asebe added that the act was to change such narrative and give them a sense of belonging.
In their separate goodwill messages, Miss Miriam Bako, representative of National Human Rights Commission, said the commission had been championing the cause for inclusion of people with disabilities.
Bako noted that the commission had been interfacing with government on regards to complaints brought before the organisation.
Also, Malam Musa Usman, State Chairman of People with Disabilities, described inclusion as “full participation and involvement of people with disabilities in the family and the society affairs”.
He lemented that in spite the signing of the Disability Act 2018, both state and non-state actors had refused to give support to them due to fear of them excelling above them.
According to him, no single person with special needs has been appointed as minister, commissioner or permanent secretary.
“What we need is empathy from the society and not sympathy and we should be addressed as “people with special needs,’’ he said.