Leprosy Mission, PWD Association Call for Amendment of Kogi Disability Law

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The Leprosy Mission Nigeria (TLMN) has called on the Kogi State House of Assembly to consider and amend the state disability law.

The call was made at annual state level disability summit in Lokoja on Thursday.

The summit organised by TLMN with relevant stakeholders reviewed progress made in disability inclusion in Kogi state.

Program Officer, The Leprosy Mission Nigeria in Kogi state, Reuben Isaiah, recalled efforts by TLMN and other civil society organizations to introduce and push for the passage of the disability law through lobbying and advocacies.

Reuben disclosed that The Leprosy Mission Nigeria translated the disability law into local languages in Kogi state and also introduced an audio version of the law to enable persons with disability understand the provisions and monitor its implementation.

He added that TLMN is supporting calls from stakeholders for the amendment of Kogi State Disability Law, especially three sections of the law highlighted by the PWD association.

“The disability bill was put together by different civil society organizations in Kogi state sometime in 2016. While the bill lingered in the Assembly, The Leprosy Mission Nigeria led advocacy visits to Ata Igala, Ohinoyi of Ebira Land, Obaro of Kabba and other traditional rulers as well as religious leaders and other stakeholders to help facilitate the passage of the bill.

“After the bill was signed into law in 2018, our priority now is to ensure proper implementation of the law. We are pushing for the recommended amendments,” he said.

Reuben stated that TLMN has embarked on numerous projects and interventions in Kogi state. Aside training lawmakers and staff of Kogi State House of Assembly on disability issues and budget inclusiveness, the mission has provided safe drinking water through provision of boreholes.

Program Officer, Reuben Isaiah

He added that TLMN has trained religious and traditional rulers as well.

He said TLMN is current implementing its ‘Resilience Building and Disability Inclusion Project’ (REDIP).

“We have gathered the list of persons with disabilities in Kogi. We asked them to choose a trade. TLMN will sponsor them throughout the duration of the training. We want them to be self reliant and not resort to begging because of their disabilities.”

Chairman of Kogi State Joint National Association of Persons With Disability (JONAPWD), Solomon Yahaya, commended the Governor Yahaya Bello-led administration for creating enabling environment for PWDs in the state.

Yahaya commended the State House of Assembly for the passage of persons with disability law four years ago.

He highlighted three sections of the law that requires amendment.

“Kogi NGOs Network (KONGONET), persons with disability and other stakeholders did a joint review of law and came up with some germane points that requires amendment.

“Our honourable members should quickly initiate the process of reviewing the law and pass amendments as appropriate,” he said.

Yahaya noted that part II section 8(2)(a) of the state disability law that states that: “The chairman and other members of board shall hold office for three years and may be re-appointed for another term” be amended to read “The chairman and other members of the board shall hold office for four years and may be re-appointed for another term and no more.”

Also, section part IV 9(2)(a) that states that “a qualified person with requisite experience on issues of management and education of persons living with disability” should be amended to read: “a qualified person with disability, experienced on issues of management and education of persons with disability.”

He submitted that part IV, section 9(2)(c) that states that: “be assisted in the discharge of his duties by such officers as he may require from time to time, provided that 30% of staff of the office shall be qualified persons living with disability” should also be amended to read “be assisted in the discharge of his duties by such officers as he/she may require from time to time, provided that 70% of staff of the office shall be qualified persons living with disability”

“We also recommend that in compliance with United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disability, the LIVING should be expunged in entirety while referring to persons with disability. The word ‘persons living with disability’ as captioned in the law is discriminating,” he explained.

The summit was attended by persons with disability, civil society organizations, staff of the state House of Assembly, top officials from Ministry of Women Affairs and the media.


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