Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has urged stakeholders to adopt the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act as a major tool towards the effective implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act.
Mr David, Anyaele, Executive Director of the group said this on Thursday at a one day stakeholders’ strategic meeting for Person with Disabilities (PWDs) in Lagos.
Anyaele was represented by Mrs Chima Austin, Head of Admin and Finance, CCD Lagos.
He said that the FOI Act would help in entrenching an open government in which PWDS could have active voices in governance and contribute to policy decisions.
According to him, the act is one law that recognises the right of people with physical disabilities and provides that PWDs and educational challenged persons can apply through a third party or by an oral application.
“Adopting a comprehensive FOI act would enhance the full and effective implementation of the national disability law.
“The act affords everyone regardless of tribe, age, creed, a right of access to information or records held by public institutions and relevant private entities, irrespective of the form in which such information or records are kept.
“It also penalises the wrongful denial of information, destruction, falsification or alteration of information or records, or any attempt to do any of these things,” he said.
He urged PWDs and stakeholders to invoke the use of the FOI act through complaints, petitions and requests, in order to hold states and non-states actors accountable and to gain inclusion in government at all levels.
Mrs Ihuoma Kelechi, Assistant Secretary of National Association of PWDs Lagos chapter, called for prompt response to request written to both the federal and state government.
“The government at all levels would only show concern for PWDs if they quickly respond to request with immediate steps and actions to back their supports,” she said.
Mr Dare Dairo, Chairman Physically Challenged Cluster, Lagos chapter, also called for quick response, while urging PWDs and stakeholders not to antagonise the government in the process of making request.
He, however, called for a stronger relationship between stakeholders and the government at all levels to achieve the desired outcome.
The meeting which was funded by ActionAid — a global movement of people fighting for women’s rights, social justice and an end to poverty.
Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is a foremost human right organisation of, and for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) that works to educate, support and empower PWDs and their families to maximise their potential.(NAN)