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Stakeholders call for full implementation of Disability Rights law

This call was made at the JONAPWD 1-day sensitization meeting with Justice and Support Service Providers/ Relevant MDAs on the need for the implementation of Anambra State Disabilities Rights Law (2018). 

While delivering her remark at the event which had in attendance representatives from the National Human Rights Commission, National Orientation Agency, Ministry of women affairs, Anambra State Ministry of Transport, Special Education Unit of ministry of education, Community and Empowerment Network(COMEN), Legal Aid Council, State Bureau of Statistics, the chairman Aguata  traditional ruling council, Ministry of Transport, Anambra State Health Insurance Agency (ASHIA), Anambra Broadcasting Service and Odenigbo FM, CSOs, the State co-ordinator of the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC), Mrs Josephine Onah, noted that persons with disabilities suffer different forms of discrimination which necessitated their involvement in the accomplishment of the establishment of the Disabilities Rights Law in Anambra state. However, she also noted that getting the law without the full implementation would only be an effort in futility, hence their support to JONAPWD in advocating for the implementation of the law. She therefore challenged the different service providers and relevant MDAs to critically look into the law and find ways of moving the law from its passive state to the state of implemention by doing what is expecting of them, mentioning that the aim of the law is to create parity between the society and persons with disabilities. She also emphasized that the establishment of the Disabilities Rights Commission would be a milestone in the fight for the implementation of the law as it would ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the benefits of the law. 

In his welcome remark, the state chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Comr. Ugochukwu Okeke, highlighted the aims of the program which was to share the report of the research conducted by the association on the needs of persons with disabilities in Anambra state, sensitize the service providers on the contents of the Disabilities Rights Law, and get the responses of the service providers/ relevant MDAs on what they would do differently in order to ensure the implementation of the ASDRL. He also highlighted the responsibilities of these service providers to whom the association had paid advocacy visits on the implementation of the law which, according to him, will only be an academic exercise if not implemented. Finally, Comrade Ugochukwu  thanked and welcomed all the service providers that honoured the association's invitation despite their busy schedule and expressed his unquantified gratitude to the Rule of Law And anti corruption (RoLAC) European project in Anambra for funding the program adding that the association will never forget RoLAC in a hurry   for all their support since they came into Anambra state and according to him has transformed the issues of persons with Disabilities in the state from charity issue based to rights issue based.

Also speaking at the event, Mr Umeokwonna Ugonna and the president Customary Court of Awka, His Honour, Princewill Iwuafor, took turn to intimate the participants on the  contents of the research report and Anambra State Disabilities Rights Law respectively. 

In their separate remarks, the service providers/ relevant MDAs while commending RoLAC for the great work they are doing in the state, pledged their unalloyed support and willingness to fulfill their responsibilities in order to ensure the full implementation of the law. The State Bureau of Statistics pledged their continuous update of the data of persons with disabilities which will assist the government in its planning, policy making and budget preparation. The National Orientation Agency pledged to educate all staff members on disability etiquettes, break down the contents of the research report and the law to the people at the grassroots and synergize with other service providers and MDAs to ensure the implementation of the law. The Community Empowerment Network and the Special Education Unit of the Ministry of Education and the National Human Rights Commission promised to double their efforts in order to ensure their continuous support to persons with disabilities and protection of their rights. The State director, Legal Aid Council, Dr Mmaduabuchi Ukamaka, pledged the provision of pro bono lawyers for persons with disabilities. She also used the opportunity to notify JONAPWD of the Council's provision of three disability desk officers charged with the responsibility of receiving cases of persons with disabilities, and as well, expressed her willingness to have the staff of the Council trained on sign language communication. Also in their separate remarks, the representatives of ABS and Odenigbo FM, Mrs Ify Unachukwu and Mr. Ogemdi Ozoemena also pledged their continuous support and partnership with JONAPWD in the creation of awareness about the law.

In his vote of thanks, JONAPWD treasurer and Chairman, Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, Mr Amobi Nwagwu, on behalf of the association, thanked the guest for honoring the invitation of the association and prayed God to lead them home safely.

Ikele Chinenye Elizabeth

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