The Nigeria Association of Blind (NAB) on Tuesday called for full implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 to protect interest and rights of people living with disability.
Its Chairman in Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Muhammed, made the call at the 2019 International White Cane and Safety Day, organised by the association in Badagry, Lagos State.
The Nigeria News Agency reports the theme of the event was: “The White Cane, My Symbol of Independent”.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Jan. 23 signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018
This is aim at protecting interest and rights of people living with disability following nine years of relentless advocacy by disability rights groups and activists.
A section of the Act says “A person with disability shall not be discriminated against on the ground of his disability prohibition of discrimination by any person or institution in any manner or circumstance.
It provides a fine of N1,000,000 for a corporate body and (b) an individual, a fine of N100,000 or six months imprisonment or both.
According to Muhammed, full implementation of this law will make people to respect us, especially the blind people, our wives and children.
“This law will give us equal opportunity with our counterparts in the labour field.
“It is sad that a lot of us after completing our education find it difficult to get jobs.
“When you apply for a job and your employer discovered that you are blind, they will tell you there is no vacancy.
“They don’t want to care, even if you are a lawyer, holder of doctorate degree or a good teacher or whoever you are.
“With the law now in place, people will know that they cannot treat people with blindness, or anyone with disability with levity.
“In developed countries, they are successful, because there is a law, rules and regulations which they followed,” he said.
Muhammed urged Nigerians to respect people living with disabilities, especially the blind people, saying that they needed every assistance to survive and live a meaningful live.
The NAB chairman appealed to Federal Government and private companies to employ and empower people with blindness.
Muhammed said: ” We want employment for the blind that went to school, and empowerment of the blind that did not go to school, but are trainable.
“They have skill, maybe soapmaking, shoemaking and other.”
He urged the government to provide good housing scheme for people with blindness, saying that developed countries provided these for their people with disabilities.
Muhammed said that the blind people were in Badagry to celebrate with their counterparts in the coastal town.
“We were in Ikorodu in 2018 and Ikeja in 2017; this year, in spite of the deplorable state of the road among others, we have come to Badagry to celebrate with them and feel their pains.
“All blinds here today have come from different parts of Lagos State including Iyanapaja, Ayobo, Oshodi, Ojodu, Ikeja, Surulere and even from outside Lagos.
“They like to celebrate with us, because they know they will be given White cane and T shirt,” he said.
Muhammed said the event was to create awareness on the use of white cane, its importance for the society to know that the cane is the symbol of independent and symbol of blindness.
NAN reports that over 500 members of the association later marched and danced round the ancient city of Badagry. (NAN)
Edited by Abiodun Oluleye/Olagoke Olatoye