Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the country are fighting against stereotypes used against them by the society.
They lamented that stereotypes promoted by the society against them can be dehumanising, and said the society should treat them as human beings and not their disabilities.
Prominent disability advocate, Mary Musa, who is visually-impaired, emphasised the significance of implementing the 2018 Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act as a vital step towards advancing disability rights in Nigeria.
She spoke in Abuja at a training for journalists organised by the Global Initiative for Civil Stabilisation (GICS), with support from the Embassy of Switzerland in Nigeria. The training focused on deepening the implementation of the 2018 Act.
Musa underscored the need for efforts to raise awareness, strengthen implementation, and address existing challenges through collaborative endeavours among the government, civil society organisations, and the media.
She said: “Stereotypes used by the society against PWDs must stop. PWDs must be seen as humans and not their disabilities. We cannot stress enough the crucial importance of fostering an inclusive society for PWDs.
“Former President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, on January 23, 2019, but, till date, many Nigerians are unaware of the bill, its provisions and punishments to defaulters.”
Chief Executive Officer of GICS, Muhammad Al-Mansur, highlighted the prevailing lack of awareness among Nigerians regarding the Act and the penalties imposed for violating the rights of PWDs.
Al-Mansur however hoped the workshop would inspire a series of investigative reports by trained journalists to shed light on the widespread violations of PWDs’ rights.