By Kemi Yesufu
Chairperson House of Representatives Committee on Disabilities, Rep. Miriam Onuoha has called for the strict implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons With Disability Act.
The lawmaker states that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government are bound by the law and should therefore adopt means to implementing it, especially with regard to employing Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
Speaking at a one- day round table organized by the INCLUSION magazine and The Albinism Foundation, themed, “Confronting The Challenges of The Safety of Persons With Albinism”, held in Abuja on Friday.
Reacting to the age long policy of the Nigerian Army which prohibits persons with disabilities from being recruited into the military, Onuoha pointed out that the Army has other units that are not combatant or require the use of arms where PWDs can be usefully engaged.
She said: “the 5% allocation for recruitment is sacrosanct and mandatory for all agencies, persons with disabilities can be exempted from those strenuous training and given certain privileges as it is readily done in the NYSC where persons collect exemption letters”.
“If legislation is required we can begin to work on that but as the law stands it covers everyone, we can collaborate and look for possible solutions to accommodate all Nigerians”.
“Persons with disabilities can be deployed to work in other units that are not combatant, like communications, administration or others.
The Executive Secretary of National Human Rights Commission, Mr Anthony Ojukwu in his paper presentation stated that Nigeria now has relevant laws by which rights of persons with albinism are better protected. Ojukwu was represented at the meeting by Oluchi Adieze called for tougher legislations to curb violence against persons with albinism, ensure provision of safe spaces, prosecute perpetrators, combat impunity and rally support for the victims.
The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Mr. James Lalu pointed out that with the emergence of climate change, most weather conditions are dangerous to persons with disabilities.
The NCPWD boss was represented by Mrs. Nike Akinbola said that the direct exposure to the sun makes albinos prone to skin cancer.
Mr. Jake Epelle, the Chief Executive Officer of the Albinism Foundation commended INCLUSION magazine for highlighting challenges faced by persons with albinism, adding that that one of the greatest challenges of the persons with albinism is that they do not demand for their rights.
“Asking for extra time during examinations has already been approved by the ministry of education, but unfortunately persons with albinism are not aware of this and so do not demand for it.
“The issue of asking for extra-time during exams for persons with albinism is something we fought for, for like 10 years and we got it approved. Federal Ministry of Education has approved that any person with albinism taking exams must be given extra-time. The problem is not with society; the problem is that many of us do not ask for it. If there is anybody who sitting for an exam who ask for extra time and he is not given, he should let us know, so we report back to the council (of Education)”, Epelle said.