The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), an NGO, has called on the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) not to discriminate against its members in the ongoing national registration of citizens.
Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of the centre, made the appeal yesterday when he paid advocacy visit to the commission in Abuja.
Anyaele alleged that reports from members of the centre from across the country indicated that they were being discriminated against and asked to come to Abuja for their registration.
“We are worried that citizens with disabilities, in specific persons with upper limb loss (amputees) are denied registration on ground of their disability.
“We also worried that citizens with disabilities, in specific persons with upper limb loss are asked to come to Abuja for the registration,’’ he said.
Anyaele urged the commission to urgently address the alleged discrimination by its staff outside Abuja against people with disabilities to enable them register and obtained the national identity card.
He wondered why such citizens could not be registered in the local government areas and states, adding that they could not afford the cost coming to the FCT to get captured.
“We also call on the NIMC to take appropriate measures to remove environmental and institutional barriers that restrict citizens with disabilities from participating in the registration exercise,’’ he said.
Ms Shereef Balogun, NIMC Senior Manager, Data Base, who received Anyaele on behalf of the commission’s Director-General, Mr Chris Onyemenam, assured that the commission would not discriminate against people with disabilities.
Balogun maintained that the commission had standard operational procedures which do not discriminate against any person, adding that it had not directed any of its staff to discriminate against people with disabilities.
“The project – registration of citizens, is an all inclusive programme. It is not discriminatory against anybody.
“The mandate of NIMC is clear, capture and register Nigerian citizens and legal residents and we are doing everything within our power to capture every person.
“There is no directive that somebody should be discriminated against,’’ she said.
According to her, the Federal Government is mindful of citizens with disabilities in the exercise.
“That is why they (government) said that we have to set up centres in very low buildings to take care of people with disabilities, especially those on wheel chairs,’’ she said.
Balogun apologised to those who might have been discriminated against as result of their disabilities and assured that the commission would take step to address the matter.
Registration: Don’t Discriminate Against Us – Centre Urge NIMC