The Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD), David Anyaele, Tuesday said society has failed people with disabilities and made them vulnerable to exploitation from the public.
He spoke in Lagos during his keynote address at the Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER’s) one-day training on Reporting People With Disabilities (PWDs) with the support of the Ford Foundation West Africa Regional Office.
Anyaele said only inclusive education could change the fortunes of people with disabilities and propel them to realise their potential as responsible citizens and members of society.
He said while people with disabilities were entitled to free education from primary to tertiary level without discrimination, the provision was not being implemented by many state governments.
He added that attitudinal barriers from families had worsened the plights of people with disabilities.
“Many are at home and their parents are confused, they don’t know what the people will say. Members of society don’t look at them; the parents don’t know what to do. Are they having access to free education? The media have a role to play to open these cases.”
Anyaele stated that the passage of the Disability Act under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration which triggered the establishment of the centre followed 18 years of struggle.
Executive Director of JODER, Adewale Adeoye, said PLWDs were working hard to change their own stories for the better.
He said, “The media needs to work with them. In Nigeria, there is the Association for the Comprehensive Empowerment of Nigerians with Disabilities (ASCEND) and the Joint Association of Persons Living with Disabilities (JONAWPD).
“There is also the legal framework that the media needs to promote and advance. Nigeria already ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities while at the local level, the Nigerian government has signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Act 2018. The law sanctions people or institutions who discriminate against PWD.”