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BUHARI SIGNS BILL AGAINST DISCRIMINATION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the bill making it an offence punishable by imprisonment or fine, all forms of discrimination on grounds of disability.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Sen. Ita Enang, said in Abuja that the offence would attract N1 million fine for corporate bodies and N100, 000 for individuals or six months imprisonment for violation concurrently.

This followed the signing of the Discrimination Against Persons with disabilities (Prohibition) Bill 2018 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the law, all public organisations are to reserve at least five per cent of employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs)

He noted that the act guaranteed right to maintain civil action for damage by the person injured 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.

“The Act further provides:

(1) Before erecting any public structure, its plan shall be scrutinized by the relevant authority to ensure that the plan conforms with the building code.

“(2) 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.

“(3) An officer who approves or directs the approval of a building plan that contravenes the building code, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of at least N1m or a term of imprisonment of two years or both,” he said.

Enang further said, “discrimination 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 include education, healthcare, priority in accommodation and emergencies.

“The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities is also established in Section 31 with Executive Secretary as the head.”

The Senate had on March 28, 2018, approved the conference report of the bill, to ensure full integration of persons with disabilities into the society.

The bill was passed on Nov. 22, 2016 by the Senate and May 18, 2016 by the House of Representatives.

Rep. Ochiglegor Idagbo (PDP-Cross River) sponsored the bill in the house of representatives while the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Francis Alimikhena sponsored it in the Senate.

With the signing of the bill into law, Nigeria, which a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, legal framework to mainstream Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

 

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