Project Enable Africa aims to implement the Persons with Disability Act through coordinated efforts.

Project Enable Africa aims to implement the Persons with Disability Act through coordinated efforts.Olusola Owonikoko, the founder and executive director of Project Enable Africa, has assigned stakeholders the responsibility of working together to execute the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Prohibition Act.

He made the announcement over the weekend in Abuja during the 5th Disability Inclusion and Leadership (DIAL) Awards and Dialogue.

He emphasized that it should not have taken Nigeria 18 years to enact the bill into law given how important it is to improving the welfare and standard of living for PWDs. As a result, steps must be taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

"It's simple to assume that we have an Act and move on, but let's remember that history will repeat itself if we don't pay attention to it and document it."We must comprehend how the numerous disability-related laws and Acts that are now pending would not take as long as the eighteen years it took for the Nigerian disability Act to pass via campaigning and struggle.

As Owonikoko celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disability alongside the rest of the world, she said it's critical to remember that the Act's full implementation is necessary to advance disability rights and promote social inclusion for people with disabilities.

"Celebrate the tenacity and resilience of persons with disability in Nigeria, showcase a documentary we have worked on in partnership with Columbia University in New York which is really about documenting the processes that led to the Nigerian disability Act and to recognize and appreciate those who made the bill happen," he stated, elucidating the goals of the DIAL awardIn order to get to the point where the disability act is presently in existence, many people with disabilities battled in a movement, advocated, spent their money, and made calculated decisions.What was done incorrectly, what ought to have happened, and how could it have been done better? These are the discussions we plan to have and the issues we will highlight in the documentary so that in the future we can serve the community more quickly and everyone can witness the difficulties, obstacles, and hardships that people with disabilities experience.

"Post-COVID has been tough on everybody, but even tougher for persons with disabilities," he asserts. We will recognize their achievements by giving them the 2023 Disability, Inclusion, and Leadership Award. They have persevered, tried to make ends meet, driven economic activity, and even managed their families.

Speaking on the significance of the award to the leaders of the movement that gave rise to the Act, Ihekwoaba Paul, Executive Director of Global Hope and Justice, stated that everyone, no matter where they are in life, should keep working toward the benefit of humanity.

Paul spoke about the difficult struggle they went through to bring about the Act: "It has been a very tough fight, some of us are pioneers since the return of democracy, I must say.

"While we may not be where we would like to be, we have moved on from yesterday.We have to respect the administration of former President Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari because it was during his reign that he had the foresight to turn that bill into an Act. 

The bill had languished in the National Assembly for a long time, but under the direction of then Senate President Dr. Daraki, it was passed and President Buhari signed it into law. 

But the gratitude for President Buhari doesn't end there. 

He also established the National Commission for Persons with Disability, which is currently led by James Lalu, and he was able to establish the office of Senior Special Assistant on Disability for the first time.

"There have been both concrete and intangible successes thus far as a result of the Commission's efforts and the OPDs' activities, which have sustained that advocacy that brings disability issues to light," he stated.


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