By Alomot Akinsanya
According to the World Health Organization in 2018, about 29 million of the 195 million people who comprise Nigeria’s national population are living with a disability.
In Nigeria, disabilities result from lack of medical facilities, insecurities, violence and even accidents. These issues could have been minimised through an enhanced system, but little attention is given by the government
While the government claimed it has approved the “Discrimination Against Person With Disability (Prohibition) Act”, the law has neither improved the protection of the PWDs nor reduced the social and economic exclusion they suffer.
Aside from the government, PWDs are being discriminated against across the country. This is a product of misconception that PWDs are cursed(a belief that stems from myths) which is due to misinformed cultural norms or beliefs.
People with Disabilities have been excluded from basic necessities in the country. They have limited access to education, employment, and use of public spaces.
For instance, Gospel artist, Emmanuel Benson couldn’t record his album since most music producers and marketers refused to work with him because of his disability.
They are also open to unnecessary pity and discriminatory sympathy even when they do not need it.
The effects of this exclusion go beyond what we see. PWDs are unable to pursue economic activities, earn a livelihood, and enjoy social and cultural life. This negative impact is usually felt by women with Disability who go through marital discrimination and children who are prone to all kinds of vulnerability.
It is disturbing that PWD remains unprotected and excluded due to a condition that happened outside their control.
It is even more disturbing that there is equality under the law, yet it isn’t in practice. This raises different questions about Nigeria as a country and the kind of society we live in.