When Ayodeji Yinka (not real name) had to withdraw his money in FCMB late in October last year, one of the many things he worried about was how he would get to the branch closest to him. Another one of his worries was how he was going to manoeuvre his wheelchair into the large stately building the bank was housed in.
“It is always a hassle having to leave the house but going to the bank is an extra strain. The buildings are inaccessible, the revolving doors do not allow my wheelchair in, and the security officers are often very unhelpful or rude”, Yinka, who is 36 years old, says bitterly. He has had to deal with this ever since he got a wheelchair following a road traffic accident he had six years ago.
Nigeria has over 25 million people living with at least one disability while over 3.6 million have difficulties functioning. In spite of this large number, a lot of the infrastructure in the country is inaccessible to many people living with disabilities. The President, Muhammadu Buhari appointed executive members of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in 2020 in line with the Disability Commission Act. However, despite this development, the disability act has not been domesticated in most states in Nigeria.
Talking about this while speaking in Akwa Ibom, David Anyaele, the Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) kudu(not real name) other states to emulate the 10 states that have adopted and domesticated the Disability Act in the country. He mentioned that the 10 states that have passed the bill into law are, Kano, Jigawa, Anambra, Kogi, Ondo, Lagos, Ekiti, Plateau, Kwara and Bauchi, and added his organization was creating awareness around People Living With Disabilities to know and understand their rights.
Yinka while lamenting that the Act has not been domesticated in his state, said, “It will go a long way to help end years of exclusion of the disabled and help in the defense of our rights.
Photo: Grassroot Researcher Association