Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
Senate President, Senator Abubakar Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has promised that the National Assembly will prioritise Bills that are aimed at protecting and safeguarding the rights of persons living with disabilities in the country.
Saraki, made the pledge when the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities led by its Executive Director, Mr. David Anyaele, visited him in Abuja, noted that it does not speak well of any country, where people living with disabilities, are neglected or denied access to basic amenities, including access to justice.
“I want to assure you that the 8th Senate is truly committed to ‘rejig’ and redefine the issues. I think what has happened in the past is the issue of not making the rights of people with special needs a priority.
“I want to assure you that the 8th Senate will not stop. We are your partners. We are ready to work to protect your rights and to ensure there is a departure from what has happened in the past.
“It is by providing those laws that we will provide the enabling environment that will redefine these type of challenges. It is not good for us as a country for our disabled persons to feel neglected and deprived and I want to assure you that we will work to change the narrative in the 8th Senate,” he said.
Earlier, Anyaele lamented the difficulties people with disabilities in the country go through to access public infrastructure and justice nationwide.
He decried a situation where about 25 million Nigerians living with disabilities and their families are being caged as a result of inability to care for their loved ones.
Anyaele particularly observed that even the Ministry of Women Affairs, which coordinates other line agencies for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities in the country, has not made adequate provisions for easy access to its building.
“Our purpose of coming to your office today is to share with you the findings of our research on access to public infrastructure in Nigeria. It will interest you to know that more than 99.5 per cent of public infrastructure in Nigeria are not accessible to persons with disabilities.
“In fact, all the line ministries, department and agencies that have been earmarked for the national policy on the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities are not accessible including the Coordinating Ministry – Ministry of Women Affairs,” he said.