Stakeholders including CSOs, Media and Town Union leaders have called on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to consider reactivating the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) in Anambra state.
The call was made yesterday at the unveiling of the abridged Igbo and Pidgin versions of the Anambra State Disability Rights Law in Awka, the state capital.
The stakeholders tasked the state government to make the Commission more operational by engaging some members of the commission on full-time basis instead of the part time arrangement instituted by the immediate past administration in the state.
Former Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, 2021, inaugurated the disability Commission to cater for the needs and welfare of the disability community in the state.
The inauguration was followed with the validation and adoption of Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) sponsored abridged Igbo & Pidgin version of the Disability Law, enacted by the state government in 2018.
Giving an overview of the law, Legal Adviser to Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Peter Muoneke, said the law is for the integration of persons with disability into the society and for the prohibition of discriminatory acts of any kind to persons with disabilities.
In her presentation, programme Lead of European funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) in Anambra State, Josephine Onah, noted that the establishment of the law is a milestone in the journey to the creation of access to justice for persons living with disabilities in the state.
She regretted that some organizations in the state, despite the passage of the law since 2018, are yet to come to terms with the implementation of the law in their different organisations, noting that even the law establishing the use of sign language interpreters in churches, schools and media is poorly adhered to, despite the body’s training of about forty personnel on sign language in the state.
She therefore called for more sensitization and awareness creation on the need for immediate implementation of the provisions of the Anambra State Disability Right Law.
“The establishment of the law is a milestone in the journey to the creation of access to justice for persons living with disabilities in the state.
” I urge the relevant service providers to start making use of the sign language interpreters directory made available by RoLAC.
” Let’s not forget that this initiative was aimed at bridging the communication gap between the general public and the disability community.
“About 40 Sign Language interpreters have been trained by RoLAC and those available at Anambra State Disability Rights Commission are ever ready to serve if contacted,” she said.
Earlier in his address, JONAPWD Chairman, Anambra state, Ugochukwu Okeke, said the creation of the abridged versions was to create more awareness through multiple languages about the law and to mobilize support for its speedy implementation and among others make the copies available in the simplified and accessible format.
According to him, “the law seeks to eliminate all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities, equalize their opportunities in all aspect of life in the society and establish the disability Rights Commission and other matters.”
The Anambra JONAPWD Chairman described RoLAC as the backbone that has oiled the projects of social justice and inclusion of PWD in the state.
“The body has made an indelible mark in the state by promoting enduring projects that will see to the implementation of different laws that guaranteed equality and justice in the state,” he noted.
In the other remarks, stakeholders including Media, CSOs and representatives of different disability clusters called for more sensitisation of the abridged versions to enable the public eternalize the full contents of the law and abide strictly by it.