The Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lanre Issa-Onilu, has expressed worries over the low level of compliance and implementation of the “National Disability Act 2018” across all sectors in the country.
Issa-Onilu stated this at the stakeholders’ meeting on awareness campaign to “ending discrimination and non Inclusion of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs)” organized by the agency in Lokoja, Kogi State capital.
The Director General who was represented by a director in the agency Mrs Christy Okpalah, said that the campaign is aimed at enlightening all critical stakeholders on the need to play their respective roles in the implementation of the National Disability Act 2018 in order to achieve disability inclusion across all sectors of the society.
Issa-Onilu who also emphasised the need for citizens especially the critical stakeholders to promote the implementation of the disability act, noted that NOA had in collaboration with the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, carried out capacity building workshops for Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Private sector on the provisions of the Act and their specific roles in ensuring its full implementation.
“Despite all of these various efforts in promoting the implementation of the Disability Act since it was signed into law, there is still a low level of compliance and implementation across all sectors in the country.
“This has left persons with disabilities excluded from community events, unable to access buildings, health care facilities, transportation and face discrimination in many areas of their life.
“It is in this regard, that NOA is carrying out this stakeholder’s forum and showing its commitment to ensuring that Nigerians are sufficiently mobilised to embrace disability inclusion,” the NOA boss said.
The guest speaker at the event, Barr. Williams Aliwo a legal practitioner based in Kogi State, said the purpose of the Disability Act 2018, was for the full integration and mainstreaming of PWDs into the socio-economic and political activities of the nation.
While urging the Nigerians to have positive change of attitudes towards the integration of People Living With Disabilities, Aliwo emphasised that the responsibilities thrust upon people for the purpose of guaranteeing the protection of the PWDs, run from private to public institutions and concerns.
He however commended NOA for organising the event, adding that such sensitisation remain a sure way of reducing the effects of ignorance resulting from lack of education and willful neglect of the PWDs and their interests.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Acting State Director NOA, Kogi Directorate, Mr Patrick Edogbanya, appealed to states, local governments and various organisations to support the federal government to ensure that the objectives and mandate of the agancy were achieved.
He commended all the stakeholders for gracing the occasion and assured them of NOA’s commitment to intensifying campaign on ending discrimination and non inclusions of PWDs.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), Solomon Yahaya said that the issue of inclusions of PWDs affects everyone and it is a business of all, stating that the inclusion of PWDs should be considered in building houses, offices, worship centres, employment and appointment opportunities.
He commended NOA putting the programme together and appealed to the agency to continue promoting the interest of PWDs in the society.
Other stakeholders at the event include: CAN, JNI, KONGONET, NSCDC, FRSC, Media Practicers, Traditional Rulers and ICPC.