The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) has threatened to seal off public buildings and businesses that do not adhere to the commission’s accessibility regulations.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr. James Lalu, said organizations and other commercial locations in Nigeria are required by law to make their facilities accessible to people with disabilities.
“Failure to comply, the law also mandated us to seal the organisations through law enforcement agencies.
He stated this on Wednesday when he received the DG, National Agency for the Prohibition of trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, in Abuja.
“It is no longer an option for organisations to comply with the accessibility laws because we would enforce it. They will see our compliance and enforcement officers visiting their offices by the time the law takes its full effect, we will go all out with our media, our securities to make sure that every office comply. Though, the law provides a transition period of five years, that is from January 2019 to January 2024,” Lalu said.
He said that the disability act called for a nationwide accessibility guideline to be implemented in Nigeria by January 2024, requiring all public buildings to make their facilities accessible to people with disabilities.
“Anything in short of that, we are mandated by law to go and seal up any facilities that do not comply with the law.
According to Lalu, NAPTIP is an important partner in helping Nigeria realize its goal of providing the disability community with equitable opportunity.
“This is evident in the agency’s conversion of its policy documents into assistive devices especially for the blind to enable them gets acquainted with the workings of the agency, he said.
He also commended the NAPTIP director’s dedication to enacting the necessary laws to ensure the disability community’s access to the justice system.
NAPTIP director stated that the agency is determined to ensure effective mainstreaming of the issues of visibility of persons with disabilities into the running of the organisation.
“We are very deliberate about disability inclusivity and about issues of visibility into our everyday work into our everyday processes and also across our five strategic prevention protection competition partnership,” she said.
Waziri-Azi said the agency had already make their facilities accessible to persons with disabilities in the last five years.
She added that the organization also set aside 5% of its employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
The presentation of some official documents, including the NAPTIP Act, NAPTIP Red Card, and the NAPTIP Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, were featured in the event. All of the documents were converted into a readable format for the blind community.
Writing by Jennifer Ogor; editing by Daniel Adejo