Public Buildings Should Have Entry Routes For Individuals With Disabilities – Accountability Lab — Financial Confidential

Friday Odeh, Nigeria Country Director of Accountability Lab


Public buildings must have access routes for people with disabilities – Accountability Lab

A nonprofit, Accountability Lab, has urged public building owners and government agency managers to make their buildings accessible to people with disabilities.

The Country Director of the Accountability Lab, Mr. Friday Odeh, made the call at the Open Government Partnership – Inclusion and Diversity Ecosystem Building Meeting organized by AL Nigeria.

According to him, it was necessary that public facilities within the meaning of the Disability Act are made accessible for the blind, deaf and wheelchair users.

Odeh praised the efforts of the federal government to set up the National Commission for People with Disabilities and emphasized the need for more awareness workshops and advocacy groups for people on the Disability Act, which aims to ensure equality for people with disabilities.

He said, “The main defaulters who fail to implement the law are government agencies. The government must therefore do more to raise awareness of this law and to promote its implementation through its institutions. “

Mr. Odeh also appealed to the state and federal governments to ensure inclusive budgeting and constant assessment of the progress made with the Disability Act and to continue to work for its implementation.

“There was no respect or sign shown to people with disabilities and it has been two years since the Disability Act was passed and it feels like there is no progress.

“People with disabilities still do not have access to their funds at most banks; Airports are still not user-friendly for people with disabilities, ”complained Mr Odeh.

The project representative of AL Nigeria, Mr. Shiiwua Mnenga, also emphasized the need to include people with disabilities in government processes and called on the development partners to help the Nigerian government in this direction.

He said: Governments should put people with disabilities high on their agendas. We have to plan for them. In addition, Nigerians need to be educated about the challenges of disabled people and how to deal effectively with them, because they are people like us. “

Dr. For her part, Amina Salihu, a MacArthur Foundation representative at the workshop, complained that some state governments had not yet domesticated the disability law, saying that only 10 states had passed the law.

Other stakeholders speaking at the workshop advocated positive action to implement the law in order to give disabled people a sense of belonging.

In their view, the directive needs to be adapted, citing cases where a disabled person has to travel by air, and where they have to travel with a second person at their own expense.

They also complained that despite a five-year deadline for establishing access routes for people with disabilities, nothing was done two years later.

The News Digest reports that President Muhammadu Buhari signed a law in January 2019 criminalizing general discrimination against people with disabilities.

The Disability Discrimination Act (Prohibition Act) prohibits all forms of disability discrimination and imposes a fine of N1,000,000 for legal entities and N 100,000 for individuals, or a six-month prison sentence for simultaneous violation.

It provides for a transition period of five years during which public buildings, structures or vehicles are to be converted to make them accessible and usable for people with disabilities, including wheelchair users.

The law states: “Before the construction of a public building, its plan must be checked by the competent authority to ensure that the plan complies with the building regulations.

“A government or government agency, corporation or individual responsible for approving construction plans may not approve a plan for a public building if the plan does not provide for barrier-free facilities according to the building code.

“An official who approves or orders a building plan that violates the building code commits a criminal offense and if convicted is punished with a fine of at least N1,000,000 or a prison sentence of two years or both.”

“Discrimination is prohibited on public transport, and service providers must cater to the physically, visually and hearing impaired and anyone, however disabled. This applies to seaports, railways and airport facilities.

“Rights and privileges include education, health care, priority housing, and emergencies.

In addition, all public organizations must reserve at least 5% of the employment opportunities for these people.

Section 31 also includes the National Commission for People with Disabilities, headed by the Executive Secretary.

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