Why Governments Neglect Persons With Disabilities

Anyeele,(middle) with other members of CCD

Anyeele,(middle) with other members of CCD

According to the Nigeria’s National Population and Housing Census 2006, persons with disabilities, PWDs constituted 2.32 per cent, approximately 3.25 million on the total population of Nigeria. The proportion of PWDs were 18 years and above was estimated at 61.6 per cent of PWDs population; and of the total figure, 53 per cent were males with 47 per cent females. However, in recent years, the set of citizen have fully enjoyed full attention of the federal, state or local government. Prominent among the indications of this negligence is their inability to use public infrastructures. For instance, many of them have got injured trying to use steps on the flyovers, as there are no ramps provided for them. However, the Center for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, and a non-governmental organization has condemned the inaccessibility PWDs, to public infrastructure in Nigeria. David Anyaele, executive director, CCD on Friday, ascribed the inaccessibility to government’s negligence of the PWDs over the years. While presenting a research report on access to public infrastructures for PWDs in Nigeria, Anyaele, said attitude of government to PWDs is very poor in the sense that they have minimal knowledge or understanding about PWDs in the society. “This ignorance stems from absence of data around issues of inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in the government activities. As such, bulk of government interventions have been on charity with little or no intention of including them or allowing them to participate in programmes and activities. This has led to dearth of policies, legal framework that will protect PWDs”

According to Anyaele, the survey which was conducted between July and August 2014 investigated and analyzed the current situation and gaps in access of PWDs to public infrastructures in ministries, departments and agencies that have direct responsibility for providing services to PWDs in six selected states in Nigeria.  The states were picked from each geo-political zone. Out of the sex states, two did not policy on Disability, two had 1,and two had 3 while only Lagos had 10.

The findings of the research proved that much state government don’t consider the people with disabilities when they are constructing public structures or facilities. “Many buildings don’t have ramps, people with clutches or wheel chairs find it hard to make use of these infrastructures that truly belongs to them too, as a citizen. It is unfortunate. Our leader go abroad they see how they care for their PWDs but what have they done about it, nothing”, enthused Modele, Ogunrombi, programme coordinator, CCD.  She commended Lagos State, but stressed that more could still be done.

The NGO however recommended domestication and implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of PWDs, which Nigeria is a signatory. It also advocated a planned, phased progressive modifications of all inaccessible infrastructures as well as applying the universal design when building new ones.  “The federal and state governments must educate and increase knowledge on the needs of PWDs; especially with regard to provisions that facilitate basic access to public facilities.”

Meanwhile, Anyaele said the organization will also involve the private sectors building professionals, and other social institution in the campaign for easy accessibility of PWDs to public amenities. “The architects, and others will be involved. It is critical to us. If we engage them to appreciate this issue properly, it will guide their plan when building public structures”.

 

CCD is a Lagos-based NGO, founded in 2002. It is a not-for-profit making organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote independent living, human rights and social inclusion of persons with disabilities in development efforts. It also educates, support and empower persons with disabilities and their families to maximize their potentials.

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