By Sodiq Omolaoye
National Commission for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD) and Nigeria Association of the Blind (NBA) have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Copyright Bill 2022 into law.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, Executive Secretary, NCPD, James Lalu, said President Buhari remains the best Nigerian leader in the history of disability in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Copyright Bill into law on March 17, 2023.
Noting that the President’s assent to the bill could not have come at a better time, Lalu said: “We need to be self independent and this is a very important to us, because of disability, education has been strictly restricted for the blind. We can’t talk about inclusive education without providing learning materials in accessible formats.
“The act will, therefore, empower us to provide learning materials in an accessible format.”
President, Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB), Ishiyaku Adamu, expressed optimism that the challenges of reading experienced by the blind and other disabled persons would be effectively addressed.
According to him, with the extant copyright law, printed materials can now be produced for non-commercial purposes in an accessible format for people with disability.
Director General of Nigeria Copyright Commission, Dr. John Asein, observed that with the number of visually impaired and the policy of inclusiveness in many jurisdictions, there is a growing market for accessible format copies of books.
He, however, noted that limited availability of accessible books for the blind, visually impaired persons and print-disabled persons had remained a huge setback to their participation in other socio-cultural activity.
Asein, therefore, urged publishers to rethink their business models to embrace inclusive publishing. “We want to see more books in Nigeria. I also encourage authors to insist on their books being accessible and available for everyone to read.”
As we had advocated in the past, and in line with government policy of inclusiveness and non-discrimination, it should also be mandatory that all government-funded book production should be made accessible to the blind as well as the sighted. In this regard, the Nigerian Copyright Commission will consult with other relevant agencies and stakeholders to develop a National Policy on Inclusive Publishing either as a standalone policy or as part of any other policy,” he stated.