After several years of advocacy by disability community in Edo State for the domestication of Disability Act, Governor Godwin Obaseki on Wednesday sent Disabilities’ Rights Bill to the State House of Assembly.
The bill which was among five bills sent to the House when passed into law would end all forms of discrimination against persons living with disabilities in the state.
Other bills sent are Electricity Commission and Agency Bill, Criminal Law Bill of Edo State, Edo Property Development Agency (EDPA) Bill, and the Justice Reform Bill.
Edo will then join 10 states, namely Anambra, Bauchi, Ekiti, Kogi, Lagos, Kano, Kwara, Plateau, Jigawa, and neighbouringOndo that have passed the bill into law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on January 23 of 2019 signed into law the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, following nine years of relentless advocacy by the group and activists.
Obaseki, represented by his deputy’s chief of staff, JimohIjegbai, during an event to mark last year’s Day for Persons with Disability (December 3) at the Government House, assured members of the disabilities community that his administration would domesticate the law this year.
Obaseki had jettisoned a similar bill sent to the House by previous administration, citing inconsistencies in the documents.
According to the governor who was represented at an event in May last year by permanent secretary, Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, Mrs Dorcas Idehen, a new bill (now sent to the House in midweek) will not only address the concerns of the physically challenged, but will also strengthen institutional framework that would see to proper response for the group.
Reacting, Edo chapter of Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD) expressed joy over the development.
“Our reactions are happiness and high hopes for the DisabilitiesBill being signed.” Ann Ojugo, Edo JONAPWD chairperson,said in a message to our correspondent.
Ojugo added, the association will schedule a meeting with leadership of the House soon “for a push to get it passed into law.”
In the same vein, Network for the Advancement of People WithVisible Disabilities (NAPVID) expressed appreciation to Governor Obaseki for his “solemn commitment” towards the domestication of Disability Act in the state.
“Sir, the disability community in Edo State is super excited about the prospect of having a law that will safeguard their interests and unlock their potentials. We are profoundly grateful for your promptness and proactiveness in keeping to your promise.
“While hoping that the 7th Edo State House of Assembly will give expeditious consideration and passage to the executive bill before them; It can only be imagined how soothing it will be to the disability community to have the signature of your excellency on a Disability’s Rights Law in Edo State”, NAPVID stated in a letter addressed to the governor, dated February 25,2022, signed by its executive director, Melody Omosah Esq, and made available to newsmen.