Network of Women with Disabilities (NWD) Lagos State chapter has called on Nigerian government, it’s agencies and operators, public and private sector institutions, civil society, the media and donors to prioritize inclusion and participation of women with disabilities in politics and governance.
The Network made the call while presenting abridged charter of demands in a press conference on Wednesday in Lagos, to drive home it’s demands on the rights of women with disabilities so as to enjoy equal opportunities and contribute productively as equal stakeholders to the development of Nigeria. The event was organised in partnership with Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), supported by MacArthur Foundation.
Mrs Funke Ogunroumbi, the Chairperson of NWD said the group’s aim is to advance the promotion of gender equity and social inclusion as an index of credible elections and popular participation in governance. It is to also use the strategy of a public rally to amplify the voices of women with disabilities, and other excluded vulnerable groups in elections and governance in Nigeria.
Represented by the group’s spokesperson, Assumpta Khalil, Ogunroumbi tasked political parties to incorporate into party statutes and implement disability accountability mechanisms in line with the National Policy on Disability in Nigeria, 2017, the Disability (prohibition) Act, 2019 and those in the National Gender Policy (GNP), 2021.
She urged political parties to deliberately recruit and integrate women with disabilities as card carrying members backed by disaggregated party membership data. She also called for nomination and protection of equal dignity of women with disabilities as members with equal stake and responsibility to the party.
Speaking further, she charged parties to encourage women with disabilities to aspire for and serve in leadership and executive positions, with special measures for their protection in all political processes especially during election periods. Articulate and implement gender and disability inclusion education for its members and enforce a zero tolerance for stigma, discrimination and exclusion of persons with disabilities.
Also included in the abridged charter of demands are as follows;
The National and State Legislative Assemblies among their other roles should:
(a) Ensure that Nigeria’s annual budgets allocate funds to facilitate the effective implementation of the provisions Nigeria’s Disability Act 2019 to guarantee improvements in the social and economic lives of women with disabilities.
(b) Cause the inclusion of disabilities as one of the indices of diversity and enact an amendment law to rename the Federal Character Commission to Federal Character and Equal Opportunity Commission.
(c) Conduct strict legislative oversight to enforce and ensure public and private institutions implement and comply with the Disability Prohibition Act 2019 and other legislations providing for inclusion and protection of persons with disabilities
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC)
As the electoral umpire, INEC should:
(a) Spare no resources in enabling persons with disabilities to actively participate in all electoral processes responding to their specialized needs in ways that evidence credibility, citizen inclusion and participation.
(b) Work with the Disability Commission and other CSO Disability groups to recruit and train PWDs as ad-hoc election staff and election observers in order to dispel any fears of exclusion or helplessness especially in election periods.
(b) Strengthen its co-operation and collaboration with other election management bodies (EMBs) to make polling centers orderly and safe for all especially persons with disabilities.
INTER-PARTY ADVISORY COUNCIL
The non-partisan platform of IPAC should:
(a) Perform its vanguard functions to regulate party actions and ensure citizens, especially vulnerable PWDs are specially catered for by all election management bodies.
(b) Intensify inter-party dialogue to press home the need for parties to promote peaceful elections in order not to disenfranchise vulnerable persons such as PWDs who need guaranteed protection to participate and contribute to the credibility of the elections.
TRADITIONAL AND NEW MEDIA
As the public conscience of society, the media should:
(a) Raise awareness on positive disability policies and practices to justify the demands by persons with disabilities especially women and children.
b) Promote the adoption of an inclusion culture that enables women with disabilities participate and contribute in community development associations
(c) Create media development programs to strongly discourage discrimination against women with disabilities.
(d) Promote and celebrate the potential benefits and real value of the inclusion of women with disabilities in governance and decision-making structures.
ECONOMIC, POLITICAL, SOCIAL AND PHYSICAL SECURITY
Overall protection and dignity should include:
(a) Provision of free basic literacy, numeracy and skills development to facilitate the inclusion of womer with disabilities in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
(b) Incorporation of women with disabilities in conflict prevention and peace building structures and processes in line with the provisions of UNSCR 1325,
(c) Dedicated funding for women with disabilities in form of Annual Business grants that improve their economic disposition, protect their dignity and assist self-reliance.
(d) Elimination of all forms of electoral violence to enable women with disabilities participate in polities to achieve the goal of achieving 15% disability affirmative action in elective and appointive positions from 2023 and beyond.
(e) Building the capacity of all service providers to professionally respond to the physical and psycho-social needs of women with disabilities in peace and conflict situations.
(f) Ensuring protection for women with disabilities, and that that none remain in hostile and life-threatening IDP camps for periods longer than necessary.
(g) The passage/adoption and implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015 in the 36 states of Nigeria, towards entrenching protection and establishment of functional domestic and social peace architecture and facilities particularly to protect women and people with disabilities.
Civil Society Organizations as foot soldiers should:
(a) Strengthen collaboration and synergy to support each other in closing capacity gaps and provisioning for persons with disabilities through all the election processes, particularly on election day
(b) Ensure effective election monitoring to scale up information that leads to the mitigation of any challenges PWDs may be at risk of or are actually victims.
Development Partners as independent entities should
(a) Sustain the calls to government, politicians, security and the election management bodies to conduct credible elections in which no one is excluded through the deployment of best practice and context aligned political frameworks and processes.
Government should endeavor to give room for women with disabilities to participate in politics and other activities in the country because there’s a lot of abilities in disability.