Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Eminent Empowerment and Inclusion Network (EMINET) and Teenage Development for Africa (Teen Africa) have applauded the members of the Enugu State House of Assembly over the passage of the Disability Bill.
The new Bill is known as “Enugu State Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Bill, 2022.”
The Executive Director of Teen Africa, Ms Kobi Ikpo and the Executive Director of EMINET, Dr Ifeoma Chukwuma, gave the commendation in a joint statement issued to newsmen in Enugu on Wednesday on the recent development.
The statement described the event as a “historic one bound to especially improve the lives of the People with Disabilities (PWDs) especially women with disability in the state.”
It expressed gratitude to Urgent Action Africa (UAF) for their timely “intervention and support which facilitated the final push to ensure the passage of the bill by the House.
The statement noted that it was hopeful that the bill would be signed into law before the end of the tenure of the current administration in the state on May 29.
The statement said that by this unprecedented move by the state legislators, “the peculiar needs of the PWDs community are henceforth not just left to fate and charity.”
According to them, PWDs are now legally mainstreamed into public governance to which a more responsive system of governance will be required to be given to them.
“The content of the bill, which is likely to be signed into law soon, covers the prohibition of the use of PWDs in soliciting for alms and their rights to liberty, education, health, first consideration in queues, and accommodation in emergencies.
“It covers the reserved spaces, road side walks, freely and easily accessing public aid in public premises, vehicles, right to education, receiving information in appropriate and accessible format, opportunity to employment, equal right to work and participation in politics for PWDs.”
The statement assured that Teen Africa and EMINET would continue to partner with women with disabilities to sustain advocacy for the law to be assented by His Excellency, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, before May 29, 2023.
“There is a need for the incoming governor of the state to prioritise the implementation of the law for inclusive development of the state towards achieving sustainable development goals,” it said.
It would be recalled that the passed bill provides for the full integration of persons with disabilities into society, and establishes the Enugu State Persons with Disabilities Commission.
The Bill would vest in the commission the responsibilities for their education, healthcare, social, economic and civil rights and for connected purposes among others, for PWDs in Enugu State.