The federal government has said the enforcement of the rights of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) would start on January 16, 2024.
The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), James David Lalu, stated this at a press conference to mark the 2023 International Day of People with Disabilities.
The disability law mandates corporate firms to have five per cent of their workforce reserved for PWDs and provide accessibility of buildings to PWDs.
Lalu said with the 5-year moratorium on the implementation of the act coming to an end, the commission would transition from the era of advocacy to the era of enforcement.
He said a task force would be constituted by the end of the year to ensure the full implementation of the law.
He warned that firms and owners of office buildings that fail to make their buildings accessible to PWDs risk the closure of their facilities.
Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) have lamented the harsh impact of the current economic challenge on their wellbeing, urging the government and NGOs to come to their aid.
They spoke at an event to commemorate the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities in Jos, Plateau State.
The event, organised by the Get Them Young Initiative, was to mobilise support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of PWDs.
Welbet Hoseph, a PWD, said, “Honestly, we are not finding it easy even though we have not folded our hands and continue to beg. The current economic hardship is descending on us. We are calling on the government, especially at the federal level, to ensure inclusiveness of our members.”
Boy John, another PWD, said, “We know that everyone in the country is feeling the pain of the economic hardship. Ours is double because we are physically handicapped. Our opportunities are limited. The government needs to do something.
“Before this year, we were in serious economic trouble. But our problem is deteriorating. We experienced hardship during COVID-19 and later experienced a cash crunch. We are now facing a high cost of living. We are calling on the government to come to our aid.”
The Executive Director of the initiative, Nafisat Abdulazeez, while speaking on the efforts being made to ensure the wellbeing of PWDs, urged everyone to become disability advocates.