DPOs, NGOs, CSOs, the disabled community, and all civil-minded Nigerians celebrate a victory won perseverance and prayers as President Mohammed Buhari signs the Disability Bill into law on 23rd January 2019.
Here are the highlights of the Bill (culled from premiumtimesng.com):
- The Act prohibits all forms of discrimination against persons with disability. If an individual is found violating this law, he/she will pay a fine of N100,000 or a term of six months imprisonment. The law imposes a fine of one million Naira on corporate bodies.
- Discrimination against such persons is prohibited in public transportation facilities and service providers are to make provision for the physically, visually and hearing impaired and all persons howsoever challenged. This applies to seaports, railways and airport facilities.
- The rights and privileges of persons with a disability include education, health care, priority in accommodation and emergencies.
- All public organizations are to reserve at least five percent of employment opportunities for these persons.
- The Act gives citizens with disabilities the right to file a lawsuit for damage against any defaulter.
- It provides for a five-year transitional period within which public buildings, structures or automobile are to be modified to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including those on wheelchairs.
- Before a public structure is constructed, its plans shall be inspected by relevant authorities to ensure that the plan conforms with the building code.
- A government or government agency, body or individual responsible for the approval of building plans shall not approve the plan of a public building if the plan does not make provision for accessibility facilities in line with the building code.
- An officer who approves or directs the approval of a building plan that contravenes the building code commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine of at least N1,000,000 or a term of imprisonment of two years or both.
- In Section 31 of the Act, the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities will be established and an Executive Secretary will be appointed as the head of the commission.
Let us all play out part to ensure that the law is propagated and becomes fully operational across all fields of endeavors in Nigeria.