Friday, February 27, 2015

Please sign National Disability Bill into law, Deaf Community urges President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan

The press release by the Nigerian Deaf Community on the need for President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to sign Disability Bill into law

Gentlemen and Ladies of the Fourth Estate of the Realm,

On behalf of Nigerian Deaf Community, comprising  the Deaf Voices Coalition (DVC), Lagos State Association of the Deaf (LSAD), the Nigerian Deaf Teachers Association (NADETA) and our parent body: The Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), we welcome you to our Press Conference organized to address issues affecting Deaf Nigerians and other Disability Groups in the country.

An adage says,"he who keeps quiet in the face of serious issues and refuses to speak up, no one will know his/her  problems". This is why we have gathered you all here at the International Press Centre Ogba, Lagos this 26th day of February 2015 to air our views on issues pertaining to our collective growth and aspirations as Nigerians.

As it has been rightly said, deafness separates people from people while blindness separates people from objects. This statement underscores the practice of social ostracization by the community, so
pronounced towards the deaf cluster. In the absence of adequate recognition and protection by law and also well-educated and enlightened citizens, deaf people are treated as less than human which ought not be so.

Nigeria presently have over 24million of persons living with various disabilities and out of this number, a significant proportion of 9million are deaf persons. To this end, our numerical strength, in demography and statistics, if applied during voting exercise is huge. We voted for the President in 2011 because we are expecting good life and that through your Transformation Agenda, we will witness unprecedented growth. We are still posed to vote Nigerian Disability Bill is enacted into Law by your Excellency in fulfillment of your promise to transform our lives.

While appreciating the several initiatives the PWDs have benefited from this tenure, like mass employment into Federal Civil Service of many disabled graduates and others, we strongly request that the Disability Bill be signed into law. Nothing other than this will make us happier and we are always ready to support your second-term bid. The 6-weeks extension given by INEC will soon be over. These 6 weeks can break the record of your 6-years service or tenure if well utilized.

We have therefore continue thanking and congratulating you and your administration, for making huge history for Nigeria and every Nigerian family because every Nigerian family has one or more persons with disabilities in their respective households, by ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and its accompanying Optional Protocol, on September 24, 2010. As the CRPD is the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century, ratification demonstrates  administration’s commitments, to full and equal human rights for all of Nigerian citizens, without discrimination against her Nigerians with Disabilities, as well as its willingness to uphold the international principles embodied in the treaty.

Mr. President Sir, remember the deaf cluster and other PWDs are among the people you promised to protect and cater for. There is no reason to continue to delay in signing the Bill into an Act. You must remember that Nigerians achieved independence in 1960 which is close to 55years now, and for us in Nigerian Disability Community, 55years of suffering is enough! He who wear the shoes know where it pinches most. Above all, our motto in the same Disability Community is: 'NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US' which in effect means signing this Bill effectively include us in Nigeria Constitution as since 55years of independence we have not been effectively included in Nigeria's constitution. We have therefore, enjoined Mr. President as history beckons, to please sign this Bill and make history as the first Nigerian Leader to sign Disability Bill into an Act. The Disability Bill is our right. our life.

Long live Goodluck Ebele Jonathan!

Long live Nigeria!!!

Adewale Elisha Adeyanju
Executive Secretary
Deaf Voices Coalition (DVC)

Mallam Lukman Agbabiaka
Lagos State Association of the Deaf (LSAD)                                  

Dr. Tola Odusanya
Nigerian Deaf Teachers Association (NADETA)

Alhaji Suleiman Saka Dagbo
National President
Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD)


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