By: Abayomi Adeshida
An appeal has gone to the National Assembly to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown with an understanding of the plight of disabled Nigerians and commence moves to start addressing the valid, arguable and verifiable serious, complex civil, human, disability and constitutional questions or concerns of the over 31 million Nigerians living with disabilities so as to guarantee the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030 Agenda in the country.
In a letter written to the President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmed Lawan, and copied the Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila as well as Principal Officers of the National Assembly, a coalition of groups of American-based People Living with Disabilities warned that Nigerians living with disabilities would continue to constitute the impediment to achieving the sustainable development goals of the United Nations in the country if there is a further delay to establish the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
The petition which was jointly endorsed by the President, Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International (ERPWDI), Chief Eric Ndubueze Ufom and the Executive secretary of the same body, Mrs Ngozi Pauline Ikebuaku, on behalf of a coalition with an umbrella name known as Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) also proposed that the suggested Commission should be headed by an Executive Secretary that is conversant with the plight of the people living with disabilities when established.
According to the coalition, “the main focus of this petition is on the valid, arguable and verifiable subjects of civil, human, disability and Constitutional questions/issues, which you discussed and clearly stated bellow. ”
“We humbly and respectfully ask you to please Sir, patiently study the outcome of your meeting bellow and our COVID-19-May Workers Day: PART ONE: Chronological Order Historic Documentary Report/Petition Against the Federal Republic of Nigeria to Demand for the Immediate Establishment of an Independent Implementation Commission for the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 (Nigerians with Disabilities Act (NDA)), The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030 Agenda, “TO FREE AND LET OUR PEOPLE GO.”
“On behalf of over 31 million Nigerians and one billion Persons with Disabilities worldwide, 10 million Almajiris and millions of victims of Terrorism, Bandits, kidnapping, armed robbery, man-made and natural disasters, Climate Change, waste, Transboundary, indoors and outdoors Air pollutions and their massive health effects which causes permanent disabilities the victims if they are not dead, we the Nigerian-Americans with Disabilities Living in the United States, our Nigerian and American Registered Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs), Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc., (ERPWDI) (aka Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Initiative(ERPWDI)) FESTAC-USA, Inc, Kaysom Holding, Inc, Center for Advocacy and Citizens with Disabilities and other Allies, moves to send this heartfelt very thank you note, to the National Assembly’s members of the Senate and House of Representatives for the extra productive emergency meeting of the joint National Assembly and the Hon. Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Developments, on April 7, 2020, which failed to include our Nigerians leaders of over 31 million Nigerians with Disabilities, 10 million Alamajiris and millions of victims of Terrorism, bandits, kidnapping.
“There are over 10 Million Almajiris and millions of Internally Displaced persons (IDP), who were childhood victims of traumas, abuse, rapes, and torture, etc.., that suffer from the mysterious and most often a legacy of debilitating late effects of what they went through, called, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“Up till today, Nigeria knowingly or deliberately and intelligently has refused to either recognize or start addressing their known and recognized valid underplaying PTSD problems. Their PTSD if not addressed on time, will become serious barriers in successfully, rehabilitating them.
“Therefore Sir, you are very correct on April 7, 2020, pursuant to this UN Secretary-General ANTÓNIO GUTERRES statement, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency… an economic crisis, a social crisis and a humanitarian crisis that is fast becoming a human rights crisis.”
The non-profit coalition further expressed anger at the plight of Nigerians living with disabilities, especially during the untold hardships they are facing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
” Therefore, we are very angry about how the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has been acting during this ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, by continuing with Nigeria’s usual well documented, known and recognized, over one Century’s old (Since 1914 Amalgamation of Nigeria), bad practices of gross marginalization, disenfranchisement, discrimination, denial of programs and services, etc.., of Nigerians with Disabilities under their direct cares.
“We are angry because even though that it establishes Prima Facie entitlement to without further delays, “TO FREE AND LET OUR PEOPLE GO,” by establishing an independent, implementation Commission for the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, (Nigerians with Disabilities Act (NDA), our Federal Government is still not being truthful in their actions.
In a long list of how many cultural practices in the country had further made life difficult for Nigerians living with disabilities, they said, “It is about the FACTS that the Federal Republic of Nigeria has only partial knowledge on the making of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
” It is about the FACTS that they have just partial knowledge on the making of the Convention, they The Government is limited with the knowledge on the making of the Convention, which they would have transferred back to Nigeria for use in successfully, implementing this UN Human Rights Treaty of the 21st Century.
” It is about the FACTS that the International mandatory rules and regulations that require each foreign diplomat to stay only 4 years in each country and be deployed back to Nigeria to be transferred to a different country after 4 years of service.
“It is the FACTS that all the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Mission of Nigerian to the United Nations, who had partial knowledge of the making of the Convention are no longer a staff of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations.
” It is about the FACTS that before these staff of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, who has partial knowledge on the making of the Convention, left after their 4 years services, they failed to transfer their partial knowledge back to Nigeria.
“It is about the FACTS that, lack of knowledge by our Federal Government of Nigeria, National Assembly’s Senate and House of Representatives, the Presidency and Executives, including the Head of the Civil Services of the Federation of Nigeria, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Developments, Ministry of Women Affairs, our Nigerian-based leaders of over 31 million Nigerians with Disabilities, the entire Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs), led by their umbrella body, the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), about the true History and Documentary of How the International Disability Caucus worked during the UN 8th Sessions Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities [A/RES/60/232], for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), seriously affects styles of Advocacy, Negotiations and truthful implementations of this Convention.
“It is about the FACTS that, Nigerian National Assembly, the Executive Branch, Nigerian citizens, Judiciary, Healthcare providers, Businesses, Nigerian-based international donor nations and agencies, etc…, and Over 31 Million Nigerians with Disabilities and every Nigerian family, suffer from the grievous mistakes made by Federal Government of Nigeria by failing to fully participate during the UN 8th Sessions Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral … International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities [A/RES/60/232].
” it is about the FACTS that, we the Nigerian-Americans in the Diaspora and our Nigerian based networks today, are the only group left, who knew the true History of How the International Disability Caucus worked during … as members of the UN 8th Sessions Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral … International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities [A/RES/60/232], for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and whose duty is to without further delays from this Post COVID-19, pandemic directly, start transferring our knowledge learnt in the making of the UN CRPD, to Nigeria. Doing so will help to find long-lasting permanent solutions.
The petition was addressed to the President of the Nigerian Senate, The Distinguished Senator Ahmad Lawan while copies were also sent to the Speaker of the House of Representative, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; the Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, The Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as well as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative, Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase.
The World Health Organisation estimated that fifteen per cent of Nigerians are living with disabilities. According to estimates recorded as the current population of Nigeria using historical, and projected population, growth rate, immigration and the median age is, 206,139,589. and the 15% of 206,139,589, is, 30,920,938.35 Therefore, per World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation, estimated average populations of Nigerians with disabilities as at April 2020 is, Thirty-one million (31million).
President Muhammadu Buhari had on January 23, 2019, signed the disability bill into law and the Section 31 of the Act provides for the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities and the law provides that the Commission should be headed by an Executive Secretary.
Some of the groups listed in the coalition that sent the petition include the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International Inc., (ERPWD); kayson Holding Inc., Centre for Advocacy and Citizens with Disabilities and FESTAC USA Inc., among others.