By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Kaduna State Government has finally passed into law the long awaited Disability Bill.
This was disclosed by the State Chairman, Joint Association of Persons with Disability, (JONAPWD), Suleiman Abdulazeez, during a press briefing held in Kaduna on Thursday.
According to him, the bill was initiated by JONAPWD Kaduna State Chapter under the leadership of Comrade Rilwan Abdullahi then as a private Bill in 2009.
He explained that the purpose of the proposed bill then was to mainstream and integrate persons with disabilities into the larger society.
He added that the Bill is to ensure that persons with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone and guaranteed equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public, private sector to access equal services delivery above all inclusion.
Abdulazeez recalled that during the 2015 general election campaign, engaged persons with disability and promised if elected he will take up the bill as an Executive Bill, adding that by that engagement, Governor El-Rufa’i has kept to his promise.
He further explained that it’s a social contract between this present administration and people with disabilities in Kaduna State.
“JONAPWD Kaduna chapter is happy to inform the general public that the long awaited Disability Bill has been passed to Law by His Excellency, Executive Governor of Kaduna State Mal. Nasiru El-rufai.
“However this bill wouldn’t have seen the light of the day, following over 10 years of relentless advocacy by the Disability Community with Civil Society Organizations and Media supporting the Community to ensure the Bill sees the light of day.
“We are happy to inform at this junction that the bill has finally been assigned into law, His Excellency has kept to his campaign promises to persons with disabilities in the state.
“We sincerely believe that this legacy achievement by the Executive Governor of Kaduna State will take our members off the streets, erased the frequent experience of discrimination and barriers faced by the Community to participate in all aspects of Society. Example in accessing public buildings, health care, education, employment and transportation etc. and create an enabling environment for the Disability Community to enjoy better livelihoods.
“We highly commend the action and effort of the State Government for promoting the rights of Persons with Disabilities, we believe that this Law will guarantee the rights and rehabilitation of PWDs to achieve equalization of opportunities and the entire Disability Community will be afforded full access to the society at large.
“We want to use this medium to thank and appreciate the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mal Nasiru Elrufai; the people’s State House of Assembly under the leadership of the Speaker, Rt Hon. Yusuf Ibrahim Zailani speaker; Commissioner for Human Service and Social Development; Director, Kaduna State Rehabilitation Board;
“Coalition of Association for Leadership Peace Empowerment & Development (CALPED); Partner to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL); Accountability Lab Nigeria; Open Kaduna Radio and other CSOs/Media and individuals for their wonderful contributions toward the actualization of the Kaduna State Disability Law.
“Relevant stakeholders such as Kaduna State House of Assembly, Ministry of Human Service and Social Development, Ministry of Justice, Kaduna State Rehabilitation Board, Accountability lab Nigeria, PERL, CALPED, SAVI, CCD, Sight Saver, Gender Working Group and Dr. Hajiya Amina Salihu former Board chairperson of Rehabilitation Board, Alhaji Musa Zubairu, Permanent Commissioner House of Assembly Service Commission, and Hope for the Village Child.”
The State Commissioner for Human Service and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Mohammed Baba, said the passage into law of the disability bill is another milestone achievement of Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i led government.