The Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD) has protested what it describes as under representation of People Living with Disabilities (PWD’s) in the National Conference billed to wtart any time this month. In a statement issued yesterday and endorsed by the director general of the Centre, David Anyaele, a thorough perusal of the National Conference list of delegates showed that PWD’s in Nigeria has 6 slots. According to him, it presupposes that the six major cluster groups made up of the Blind, deaf, Intellectual, leprosy, Physically challenged and Spinal Cord Injury would be represented at the National Conference and cut across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. “We observed with lamentation that the list of delegates presented by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), that the deaf community in Nigeria has no representation and no Sign Language Interpreter for the conference. Out of the 6 delegates representing persons with disabilities none is a deaf person. The list is made up of the blind and persons with physical disabilities, excluding deaf ”, he said, expressing worry that the office of the SGF rejected the list of delegates send to them by the JONAPWD leadership which contends names of deaf delegates and four Sign Language Interpreters. He said: “This is how not to include the underrepresented group in policy formulation and development. This a continued pattern of exclusion and neglect of the deaf and the disability community as a whole by the Federal Government of Nigeria on National discuss since the foundation of this country. We are concerned that this action of the government is in total at variance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which Nigeria is a signatory.
Also, this constant discrimination and exclusion of persons with disabilities is possible due to none prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of disability in the 1999 Constitution, even as amended, and this conference provides a platform to address these human rights abuses. What this means is that their views and opinions may not be captured at the conference.”
As a result, the group is demanding for the inclusion of a deaf person and 4 Sign Language Interpreters on the list of delegates by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“This is to ensure that the views and opinion of Deaf people in Nigeria are included in the National Conference”, he stated, urging the National Assembly to expedite action for the passage of the Nigerian Disability bill which the House of Representatives has passed awaiting the passage of the Senate and harmonization by the both chambers of the National Assembly.