The National Commission for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD) has called for the enforcement of five percent employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities as enshrined in the Discrimination against persons with disabilities (prohibition) Act 2018.
Mr James Lalu, Executive Secretary, NCPWD made the call on Tuesday in Keffi local government area of Nasarawa state during a town hall meeting organized for North Central Zone to sensitise stakeholders on the need to create awareness on the importance of job opportunities for PwDs.
The theme of the Town hall meeting is “Employment: A necessity for a better life for persons with disabilities (PwDs) in Nigeria”.
Lalu represented by the Director, Compliance and Enforcement of the commission Mr Ikem Uchegbulam, said it was important for stakeholders to be informed of the provisions of the constitution concerning the rights of PwDs which is the major point of this event.
“Part of the mandate of the commission is to ensure the enforcement of the constitutional provisions which recognizes the fact that people with disability have right to decent employment as well as the right to decide that they want to work.
“Then section 29 goes ahead to say five percent of the entire workforce of public organisations should be reserved for persons with disability.
“So, the essence of this town hall meeting is to track, monitor and ensure that sections of the Act is complied with by the public organisations,” he said.
Lalu noted that, despite the constitutional obligation of five percent for PwDs during employment, some organizations do not comply with the law, they always find a way to deny Persons with Disabilities the opportunity.
“How they do so is when they say they are doing replacement, they don’t advertised vacancy but an internal arrangement.
”So, they are not obligated to adhere to the five percent law” he said.
Lalu expressed determination to strengthen advocacy towards ensuring that Persons with Disabilities are adequately represented in twems of employment in both public and private sector.
“we are not relenting in our efforts to ensure five percent employment for our members.
”We are equalling fighting and pursuing such organisations that have found a very skillful way to entrench discrimination.
“As for you participants, we implore you when you go back and do your reports, let your reports speak to the conscience of the heads of your organizations,” he said.
Earlier, Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Simon Lalong represented by Mr Ejeh Dennis, Deputy Director, Inspectorate Department at the ministry said, the theme of the meeting was apt giving the focus of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
Lalong said, the Tinubu Administration is committed to ensuring social and economic inclusive of PwDs especially in employment opportunities.
“I am optimistic that the outcome of this town hall meeting will further create more opportunities and access to employment for persons with disabilities in our dear country.
” I wish to reiterate that my ministry will continue to work with the Commission to ensure decent work and productive employment for PwDs as well as the protection of their rights” Lalong said.
Also speaking, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Betta Edu, said her Ministry will continue to provide the necessary support to the commission towards achieving its mandate.
Edu who was represented by Mr Sunday Hezekiah, Deputy Director in the ministry said the event was timely and would go a long way in sensitizing stakeholders on the rights of people with disability.
She then called on organisations of labour to be mindful of the sections of the constitution which provides for the rights of persons with disability, including rights to employment.
While fielding questions from journalists shortly after the event, the Secretary of federal character commission (FCC) Mr Bello Tukur, said, the event was apt.
Tukur assured the gathering of FCC’s to prioritise PwDs in the distribution of federal government’s employment opportunities.
” We will continue to prioritize the five percent employment quota for persons with disabilities as enshrined in the constitution.” He said.