By Elizabeth Osayande
The Country Advocacy Coordinator, Sightsavers, Nigerian body, Esther Bature, has stated that world leaders, should ensure that the voices of those with disabilities are heard in the forthcoming United Nations, UN Summit slated for September 18 to 19.
Bature noted this at a one-day conference tagged, “Equal world summit,” Sightsavers hosted for PWD, under the umbrella of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, Nigeria.
According to her: “In Sept 2015, UN member states, including Nigeria joined together to adopt the sustainable development goals. However, as we now reach the halfway point to the 2030 deadline, progress has derailed and the SDGs are off track.
“In line with our commitment that no one is left behind irrespective of disability, gender, or race, we are holding this consultation forum to ensure that the voices of persons with disability are heard. And also to discuss the progress of SDGs goals, and the gaps, and possibly, make recommendations that the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs will take along to the summit.
“Here, we have the JONAPWD, Nigeria, that included clusters of those with Physical Disabilities; the Association of the Blind; and the Association of Albinism. Other clusters are Down Syndrome; Spinal Cord and Dwarf Association in Nigeria.”
For JONAPWD national president, Abdullahi Aliyu Usman: “I will rate the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria to be less than 40 percent. Although some states and even the federal government are implementing the SDGs, the challenge remains that they often forget PWD in the implementation process. The implication is that the abled persons are the ones thinking for those with disabilities.
“We therefore thank Sightsavers for organizing this forum aimed to enable us to look at the goals that are peculiar to PWD and see the gaps in the goals. Then we will write to the relevant Ministry which takes note, and also present such during the UN summit.”
On his part, the guest lecturer at the summit, a Developmental Consultant, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, explained that the conference was basically to review the SDGs goals, the successes and gaps, and possibly make recommendations where necessary.
Meanwhile, the conference released recommendations based on the SDGs that aligned with PWD, which they promised to deliver to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, for onward review, and possibly presentation in the UN-SDGs summit.