By Chukwunyere Nwosu, Abuja
Community of Persons with Disabilities in Abuja on Tuesday decried the exclusion of PWDs from the ministerial list submitted by President Bola Tinubu to the Senate.
Recall the Senate on Monday approved and confirmed 45 out of the 48 nominees sent by the President.
Addressing the matter in a joint press conference, the disabilities community expressed dismay that their omission is not in accordance with the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act, 2018 which calls for the inclusion of a minimum of five per cent of PWDs in appointments to public offices.
The community said, “Regrettably, the recent ministerial list proposed by President Bola Tinubu has failed to recognize the vital role that PWDs can and should offer in Nigeria’s governance framework. The current absence of PWD representation in the Federal Executive Council marks a missed opportunity to promote advance equality and justice for PWDs in Nigeria.”
“Unfortunately, despite concerted effort and appeal, the new cabinet list presented to the Senate for screening and approval includes no ministers identifying as Persons with Disabilities.”
They noted that the absence of the PWDs in the new cabinet list deflates the hope and anticipation fostered by several organizations of PWDs, alongside other political leaders and the international community.
The community, therefore, demanded “An enforcement of Section 29 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 which provides to the effect that a minimum of five per cent appointment quota for persons with disabilities at all levels of government, including states.
“An inclusion of persons with disabilities in decision-making processes concerning policies that directly or indirectly affect them e.g., the palliative committee on subsidy removal.”
The PWD leaders in a joint communique called on the President to rectify the omission by implementing the following demands:
1. Immediate appointment of persons with disabilities into Ministerial positions at the National level and Commissioner positions at state levels.
2. The enforcement of Section 29 of the Disability Act, which provides to the effect that a minimum of 5% appointment quota should be reserved for persons with disabilities at all levels of government, including states.
3. Convene a constructive and inclusive dialogue between the Presidency and the PWD community to discuss the concerns and aspirations of persons with disabilities.
4. Ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in decision-making processes concerning policies that directly or indirectly affect them, including incorporating PWDs into the works of the ongoing Palliative Committee on Subsidy Removal.
The community of PWDs include The Albino Foundation Africa; Disability Rights Advocacy Center, Inclusive Friends Association; Center for Ability Rehabilitation and Empowerment, Freky Andrew-Essien Care Foundation; The Qualitative Magazine; the Albinism Association of Nigeria; Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities; National Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities; Cedar Seed Foundation; Network of Women with Disabilities; and Alliance for Inclusion.