Will Nigeria 2015 Elections Make Provisions For People With Physical Disabilities?
As Nigeria 2015 general election approaches, stakeholders from different sectors are advocating for people who are physically challenged to be included in the electoral process.
“Only a few people with disabilities have been participating, but we want more people with disability to vote,” says Asonta Kaliya of Center for Citizens with Disabilities.
Although Lagos State Government has passed a bill that protects them from discrimination, people with disabilities still face different challenges that prevent them from participating in government.
“The law is already in place but dissemination is the problem. We still need to create more awareness about the law,” Elugbaju Abiodun Solomon says.
“There is no measure in place for people with disabilities. There are educated people with disability who have been neglected enough. Disabled people should have access to same right as those who are not disabled.”
The stigmatization will reduce if the bill is passed and enforced at a national level.
“I had an experience when I went to register for national I.D card- I could not register because I couldn’t thumb print, there was no machine I could use.” Asonta said. “I am physically challenged- I lost an arm, how about people who don’t have arms at all?”
“We are waiting for the president to sign the Nigerian Disability Bill. We are happy that the Lagos state Government has done something for us. Once the bill is passed people with disabilities will be eager to come out and vote because there would be no stigmatization.” Asonta said.
Simon Ateba, the editor of simonateba.com, while addressing the issue of disabilities at the International Press Centre Lagos said that disabled people are not always talked about in the media. He said these people are under reported.
“Even as a journalist who has done no other job, I quickly realized that I was not conversant with the issues relating to persons living with physical disabilities.” Ateba said.
Disabled people in Nigeria will be treated in a good manner if the media could report issues relating to disability. Citizens will be more enlightened.
“If as a journalist, I am ignorant of all these issues or I do not care about people living with physical disabilities, how do I set the agenda? How do I define my role and the role of the media? How do I challenge policymakers?” He asked.
“If I do not know that about 20 million Nigerians or 19 percent of our population, struggle every day with physical disabilities, with things such as crossing the road, accessing a public building, finding an adequate school to study, how do I make this a national issue?”
“We must advocate that all public buildings and facilities be accessible to disabled persons.” Ateba said.
Image source: The Guardian