A group, The Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International Inc. has lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the composition of the 8-man National Disability Commission.

Among those appointed include, Hon. Dr Hussaini Suleiman Kangiwa as Chairman (North West); Oparaku Onyejelam Jaja, Member (South East); Philomena Isioma Konwea, Member (South-South); Omopariola Busuyi Oluwasola, Member (South West); Amina Rahma Audu, Member (North West); Mrs Esther Andrew Awu, Member (North Central); Abba Audu Ibrahim, Member (North East) and James David Lalu as Executive Secretary (North Central).

President of the group, Chief Eric Ndubueze Ufom, in a statement said President Buhari by that singular act has successfully ended a 20-year rough journey since the disability community has been advocating and negotiating with the Federal Government of Nigeria for an Independent Implementation Disabilities Rights Commission.

He noted that the advocacy had spanned from the administrations of former Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Musa Yar-Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, expressing relief that their persistence paid off at the end.

He said, “Today, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari made huge history and LEGACY, by ending our 20 years very rough journey, passing through man-made hostile environments, while advocating, negotiating and demanding from the administrations of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Late President Umaru Musa Yar-Adua and President Goodluck Jonathan for a Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) to be signed into law and its Independent Implementation Commission be Established. I thank God that we successfully broke all those man-made barriers and hostile environment and refused to give up.

“On January 23, 2019, President Buhari assented into law, the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act 2018, pursuant to Nigeria’s obligations, to fully implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, signed with its accompanying Optional Protocol by President Olusegun Obasanjo on March 30, 2007 and ratified as signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on September 23, 2010, as we successfully, advocated and negotiated with them.

“On behalf of 31 million Nigerians with Disabilities, 15 million Almajiris, millions of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), and retired older Nigerians, Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc and her members thank and congratulate President Buhari and Her Excellency, Aisha Buhari.”

Ufom also thanked the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the American Taxpayers, especially, Nigerian-Houstonian-Americans, members of ANASCO-Houston, Office of the International Disability Rights at the U.S. Department of State lead by Judy Heumann, United States International Council of Disability (USICD), Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), CADUS-USA, Inc, Kaysom Holdings, Inc., FESTAC-USA, Inc. for their directly major roles played in the making of this historic legacy.

He also commended those who directly or indirectly helped during the successful inauguration of its movements, in breaking multiple man-made barriers placed on Nigeria’s true implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, especially, its Article 4(4-3) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 Agenda at the UN Headquarters New York.

But Ufom also reminded its various partners that despite the success recorded with the Disability Commission; Nigeria is still grossly violating the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, especially its Article 4(4-3).

The Article states that “In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, states parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations”.

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