By Elizabeth Elemi
Lawyers with Disabilities have expressed dissatisfaction against the unending discrimination towards persons with disabilities, calling on all stakeholders to treat everyone with physical disability same as those without disability.
The lawyers under the aegis of the NBA Lawyers With Disabilities Forum (LWDF) decried the ill-treatment during a one day summit, titled,”The Criminality of Disability Discrimination: Evaluating the Preparedness of Law Enforcement Agencies and Relevant Stakeholders”, held on Thursday, 13th July at BON Hotel and Transtell Residence, Asaba.
According to the Chairperson, Asia Ahmad El-Rufai, the essence of the Summit was to explore the law as it affects people with disabilities, adding that, efforts are geared towards ensuring that the Nigerian Bar Association continues to take into consideration members that have one challenge or the other.
She also noted that the NBA President, Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau SAN, is not satisfied with the current name of the Forum, stressing that she would want the name of the Forum changed before the expiration of her tenure.
“The current president is not happy with the name ‘Lawyers with disability’, I will agree with Mr President and I will call on the Nigerian Bar Association, at the next NEC meeting to bring up the issue of changing the name from ‘Lawyers with disability Forum’.
Keynote speaker at the event, Mazi Afam Osigwe SAN, represented by Oyinkan Badejo, noted that, the disabled should be granted the same access as the abled.
“The need for egalitarian society where everyone regardless of the social standing or physical appearance has access to everything without being subjected to any form of discrimination.
“This disability may be blindness, deafness and even loss of an essential body part. This has necessitated the need for a legal system that guarantees freedom from discrimination for these individuals with special needs.”
She added that Section 1 of the. Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, expands the rights of the persons with disabilities, noting that abusers will be penalized according to the Act.
Also speaking at the Summit, the Commissioner of Police, Delta State command, represented by Richard Ishiguzo, said that whatever be the request of Forum, it will be made available, adding that reported cases will be attended to at no cost.
In a panel of discussion, the panelists highlighted areas which the government has structured their framework to accommodate persons with disabilities including the provision of elevators to aide movement to offices, allocation of 5% employment offer for individuals with special needs, amongst others.