A cross-section of persons with disabilities (PWD) in Kaduna on Tuesday demanded at least five percent of employment opportunities as well apolitical representation at federal, state and local levels.
This was contained in a charter of demand drafted by David Pius of the Association of Persons with Albinism, Rahmatu Ahmad of Women with Disability Self Reliance Forum, Queen David and Abubakar Sadiq of the National Association of Blind and Suleiman Abdullazeez of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), and presented at a one-day policy dialogue on the international day of PWD 2022 held at a hotel in Kaduna.
The event, which was organised by Kaduna Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC), supported by Save The Children International in collaboration with the State Chapter of the JONAPWD and Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women under the We-YOU project, was aimed at promoting the rights of PWD through dialogue with stakeholders and political leaders.
According to that charter of demand, poor inclusiveness of PWD in employment opportunities contravenes section 6, sub-section 3 of the Nigerian Constitution, 5% of political appointments should be kept aside for PWD.
“Not many PWD are gainfully employed though qualified, especially from the other clusters asides from a few persons with physical disabilities. This should also be extended to employment in public offices.
“We demand that government should put in place a policy that would make it statutory that 5% of employment opportunities should be reserved for PWD and this should be implemented through the disability board”, they said.
“Government should prioritize inclusive education and intensify efforts, increase budgetary provisions for materials needed to enhance inclusive education e.g. braille, typewriters, interpreters etc so all disability types would be carried along”, the document stated in part.
In a remark, the Facilitator, the We-You project in Kaduna, Mrs. Hannatu Ahuwan described the theme for this year’s international day of persons with disability; “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable World” as timely.
“The theme reminds everyone what we need to do. We need to be innovative. We need to bring disability into the mainstream of our planning. We should not be looking at PWD as if we are doing them favour. We need to carry them along and this needs to be deliberate.
“It is high time we act and not just talking it. All those that need to do one thing or the other to bring them on board especially those in government should act fast.
“Again, employment is key in this year’s theme. We need to begin to looking deeper to ensure PWD are considered in every employment opportunity at the federal, state and local levels”,
Lending his voice to the concerns of PWD, State Team Lead of Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) Mr. Abel Adejor agreed with earlier speakers when he said “we need to be inclusive in all our engagements to ensure PWD are allowed to display their potential.
“At PERL, we will continue to engage them in budget discussions and all that. Accessibility is very important to us. We need to ensure that all our public facilities are accessible to all. Let’s avoid stigmatization and let engage them positively”, he added.
Earlier, the Chairman, KADSPAC, Ms. Jessica Bartholomew, who was represented by the Secretary of the Coalition and Chairman, Social Protection Technical Working Committee, Open Government Partnership, Mr. Philip Yatai promised continuous advocacy on improved social protection programmes and interventions in the state in the interest of poor and vulnerable individuals.