A Lawyer with Disability has tasked the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to ensure better opportunities for its members.
Yusuf Iyodo, a member of Association of Lawyers with Disabilities (ALDIN) and Technical Assistant and Consultant to the JONAPWD National President, listed inclusive services, inclusive opportunities and Inclusive development as grey areas where the NBA need to work on to carry LWD members along.
On Inclusive services, Iyodo said when service provisions are inclusive of lawyers with disabilities, they have opportunity to use them and become better and productive lawyers.
According to him, services include assistive devices and technologies, that will make for a seamless access to information, process and participation should be made available.
“Inclusive devices, programmes and platforms will be beneficial to lawyers with disabilities. Closely related with inclusive designs, plans and services for lawyers with disabilities is accessibility. Lawyers with disabilities will be better equipped if there is access for them.
“Access to architectural as well as technological infrastructure. Access to court rooms, registry and all legal institutions. Access to information in formats convivial to lawyers with disabilities,” he said.
He said inclusive opportunities proposes that Lawyers with disabilities be given inclusive opportunities within the legal systems and institutions.
He said prioritising the welfare of lawyers with disabilities and law students was germane to their development.
“It is imperative for law students and young lawyers with disabilities to have some sense of belonging in the NBA, this will enthuse more lawyers with disabilities to be in private practice and progress in the legal profession. More law students and lawyers with disabilities should be reached for targeted assistance.
“Access to internship, mentorship, guidance, and counselling for law students and lawyers with disabilities is crucial. Access to continuous capacity building for law students and lawyers with disabilities and reduction (and gradual extinction) of the inequality gap in the employment of lawyers with disabilities and generally, the promotion of an inclusive Bar that is efficient and works for all is the heartbeat of lawyers with disabilities”, Iyodo said.
He also urged the NBA to ensure that policies, programmes and actions within the legal systems should be inclusive of lawyers with disabilities.
Besides, he said, the peculiarities as well as quota for lawyers with disabilities should be considered when programmes and plans are been designed.
This, Iyodo said, include inclusive employment opportunities for law officers, practitioners and educationists.
“Development within the profession should take into account the existence of lawyers with disabilities thus guaranteeing a sustainable future in the legal profession for law students/LWDs.
“The development of disability law and jurisprudence is critical in the improvement process. Universities should incorporate in their curriculum disability law and practice in order to develop the field,” he said.