Anambra State Government on Friday announced the approval of the establishment of the Disability Rights Commission in the state in accordance with Section of the State Disability Rights Law.
The Commission is to drive the full implementation of the State Disability Rights Law passed and accented to by the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano in 2018.
The Commission will have as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Barr Chuks Ezewuzie, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Disability Matters, and will have other members appointed in line with sections 4(1)of the Disability Rights Law.
The Commission has also been authorized by the governor to commence action and operation immediately.
Barr Ezewuzie disclosed this in a media interaction on Friday in Awka, to mark this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, marked annually every 3rd of December.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world”.
According to Barr Ezewuzie, the Commission is a body corporate empowered by the Law to implement the provisions of the Law.
He said the governor has by the disposition fulfilled his promises to the disability community in the state.
The approval by the governor, he said, caps all the accomplishments he has made in securing a better lease of life for Persons living With Disabilities, PWDs.
“I made it clear to people that before he hands over to the new governor that the state will have the Commission in place.
“By emplacing this Commission, the governor has proved his earlier desire to use the state to set a template on how states in Nigeria will be handling issues of persons with disabilities,” he said.
Ezewuzie revealed that the State Disability Rights Law is in conformity with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons of Disability, a multilateral treaty which Nigeria is a signatory.
“Indeed the state law is a domestication of the Convention,” he said.
The renowned lawyer appreciated all who joined the struggle to get the law passed in the state, expressing the hope that with the state governor-elect, Prof Chukwuma Soludo will continue from where the outgoing governor Obiano will stop, in given the disability community favourable treatment.
The Anambra Chairman of Joint Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, Comrade Ugochukwu Okeke, said the day aims to promote understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
“The day aims to promote understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
“The theme of the year’s celebration was selected to provoke thoughts around what could be done to ensure that every barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating actively in the society in the area of occupying leadership positions, is dealt with,” he said.
The State JONAPWD Chairman also called for stakeholders to work concertedly to shape an inclusive future for all and active participation of PWDs in the state.
“There is a need to increase accessibility and inclusion for PWDs by dismantling legal, social, economic and other barriers with active involvement of PWDS in governance activities,” Okeke posited.
The State Coordinator of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme, Mrs Josephine Onah in a goodwill message, congratulated the state disability community on the milestone achieved and applauded the state government for the willpower to set up the Commission.
She said the work now begins with getting stakeholders to explore the provisions of the Law to ensure that a better life is secured for PWDs in the state.
On her part, Chidimma Ajemba, Head of Media Department, Office of the Governor on Disability Matters, said disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, peace and security.
“Disability inclusion is central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind.
“The commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in a common future,” she opined.
According to her, Anambra State Government has shown enough goodwill to PWDs in the state.
“In Anambra State, matters of persons with disabilities are no longer swept under the carpet.
“It has become a matter of right and not charity.
“Persons with disabilities are grounded with the law and what it entails. The assenting to law of the Disability Right Law three years ago gave persons with disabilities access to justice in all the sectors of the state.
“Governor Willie Obiano believes that an average Anambra person with Disability has a lot to offer to the development of Anambra if given adequate support in a very conducive environment void of all barriers, hence he does everything in his capacity to better the lives of persons with disabilities in the State,” she noted.