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LALU PROMISES BETTER LIFE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABLITIES BY YEAR 2024

The Executive Secretary National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Dr. James David Lalu has reiterated the Commission's efforts towards improving the welfare, rights and dignity of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in 2024. The ES gave the assurance in Abuja, today 19th December, 2023 at a One Day stakeholders' meeting organized by the Voice of Disability Initiative (VDI) to commemorate the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In his speech Lalu stated that the improved living conditions will be achieved through advocacy, collaborations with stakeholders and enforcements of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018. He further assured that by 2024 Persons with Disabilities will witness inclusive policies and programs, as the Commission is working assiduously to ensure more scholarships and interventions are enjoyed by PWDs across the Nation. He also said that the Commission is readily making efforts to collaborate with necessary stakeholders for stronger advocacy and enforcement in order to ensure full compliance with the disability law. “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to making life better for Persons With Disabilities in Nigeria. His commitment to eradicate poverty among PWDs in Nigeria has moved him to mandate 10 % of all federal government interventions and empowerment programs to be reserved for Persons with disabilities" he said. The Executive Secretary further stressed that the Commission is desirous of collaborating with VDI towards enforcing the provisions of the discrimination law in the various States of its operations and in FCT. “We are using this medium to call on all State governments that are yet to domesticate the disability law in their Sates to do so. We will continue the advocacy to the States until our goal is achieved" he admonished. On the enforcement plan to ensure the implementation of the disability law Dr. Lalu added that the 5 year transitory period granted by the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 is expected to end on the 16th of January, 2024. "We are moving from the era of advocacy and awareness creation to an era of enforcement and implementation. The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities is very much ready to commence the proper enforcement of this especially in the areas of accessibility for persons with disabilities" he reiterated. Lalu further revealed that the Commission has strategized to engage State governors through advocacy on the benefits and needs of domesticating the disability law in every State of the federation. “In 2024, NCPWD will commence the building of Zonal Offices in the 6 geo-political regions of the country. We will employ sign language interpreters whose services will be available to all Nigerians at all times.” he disclosed Earlier in his keynote address, the Voice of Disability Board Chairman, Barr. (Dr.) Daniel Uwaezuoke said that 19th December, 2023 is significant in the history of VDI as it marked four milestones on its journey so far. These include the Launch of its 5-Year Strategic Plan (2023-2027), the Launch of the second phase of a 2-Year project on advancing sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of women and girls with disabilities being funded by "AMPLIFY CHANGE", the Launch of the Maiden Edition of VDI Quarterly Newsletters and finally the Validation of the Outcome of Stakeholder Engagement and experience of rights violation among women and girls with disabilities in Kwara, Ebonyi and Enugu States.” Mbanefo John I Head Press and Public Relations Unit, NCPWD 19th December, 2023