The Disability Awareness and Development Initiative (DADI) has called for creation of a disaggregated database of Persons with Disabilities as a priority step for planning disability-related interventions.
The group made the call in commemoration of the international day of persons with disabilities. December 3 is set aside by UN to celebrate these persons annually. The theme for this year is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world”.
While noting that this day draws attention to the rights of Persons with Disabilities as the best way to ensure their inclusion in all life activities, the organization calls on the government at federal, state and local area levels to adhere to disability laws like the Lagos State Special People’s Law 2011 and the Discrimination against Persons with Disability (prohibition) Act 2018) as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in creating a conducive society for people of all abilities to participate and contribute equally towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Opeolu Akinola, a visually impaired accessibility expert who is also the executive director of the organization, urged the government and other citizens to adopt universal design principles in physical infrastructure, digital platforms and services to enable persons of various abilities use them rather than the common condescending charity that only creates a feeling of superiority for the givers and leaves the beneficiary vulnerable.
He also recommended setting accessibility standards for roads and buildings, including accessibility in procurement regulations, consulting professionals when acquiring assistive technology and removing import duties on equipment meant for the use of persons with disabilities while supporting local production of such items.
Mr Akinola charged persons with disabilities to seize available opportunities to acquire education and skills with which they can compete equally with sighted counterparts and lead productive lives as well as consciously participate in the electoral process to support candidates who empathize with them.
The group made a commitment to collaborate with government, corporate entities and persons with disabilities in promoting accessibility and inclusion in the country.