In a significant stride toward inclusivity, the Leprosy Mission Nigeria (TLMN) and the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) jointly unveiled the translated and simplified version of the 2018 Disability Act in Abuja.
The Act, originally in English, has now been made accessible in the three major Nigerian languages – Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba.
During the unveiling ceremony, Mr Sunday Udo, National Director of TLMN, highlighted the initiative’s purpose- breaking down language barriers to make crucial information available to all.
“Language should not be a barrier to knowledge and that is why the Act was simplified into the three major Nigeria languages to give everybody the sense of belonging.
“This significance accomplishment reflects our dedication to making information accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities; access to information is critical, it is a right,” he said.
Mr Chris Agbo, the Publisher of Qualitative, Magazine, expressed gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to this transformative work.
However, he called for additional versions of the Act, specifically catering to other forms of disability, such as the deaf.
Agbo stressed the importance of reaching rural areas, where many individuals with disabilities may lack awareness of the Act’s provisions.
Acknowledging the need for widespread awareness, Mr Mohammed Isa, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Special Needs and Equal Opportunity, emphasised President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to persons with disabilities.
He called for concerted efforts to bring awareness to the grassroots, where 80 per cent of persons with disabilities reside and often lack access to comprehensive information.
Malam Lanre-Issa Onilu, the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), spoke about ongoing efforts since the Act’s signing, including public enlightenments and collaborations with Civil Society Organisations.
He was represented by Mrs Margaret Yenami, Assistant Director, Documentation, Translation and Publication in the agency.
The Executive Secretary of NCPWD, Mr James Lalu, announced plans to launch a bilateral relationship with NOA for orientation about disability rights in rural communities.
Highlighting legislative support, Mr Bashiru Dawodu, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Disability, disclosed that the Speaker, Tajudeed Abbas, recently approved the use of sign language in the chamber.
Dawodu affirmed the committee’s commitment to pushing for laws that promote the rights of persons with disabilities across the country.