Address of ALDIN President at the Inauguration of Lawyers with Disabilities Forum
AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF LAWYERS WITH DISABILITIES IN (NIGERIA) ON THE INAUGURATION OF THE NBA LAWYERS WITH DISABILITIES FORUM ON THE 8TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2022 AT…
Gentlemen of the Press,
With a deep sense of professional fulfilment, on behalf of the association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria, I welcome you to this Press Conference.
As you all know, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Lawyers with Disabilities Forum just got inaugurated. This is a historic milestone in the Nigerian legal profession. The Olumide Akpata-led NBA, in response to ALDIN’s strategic and constructive advocacy for a level playing field for persons with disabilities in the NBA has constitutionally established the NBA Lawyers with Disabilities Forum. This is the very first of its kind in the history of the NBA, and the first among the Bar Associations across the continent of Africa. Mr. Olumide Akpata is indeed fulfilling his campaign promise of making the Bar work for all.
As you may all know this Forum is the fruit of the labour of ALDIN. So, ALDIN and the Forum will work in synergy. While the Forum would be dedicated to making the NBA space enabling for persons with disabilities, ALDIN will now be more focus on providing the much-needed legal solution to the plights of other persons with disabilities in the larger society.
At this juncture, we want to say a big thank you to the Disability Rights Funds, who supported our advocacy camping that, the outcome of which is the success we are celebrating today.
It is worth pointing out that this Forum is not and end itself, otherwise, it will amount to sheer segregation of lawyers with disabilities within the NBA. This Forum will be a special purpose vehicle for championing the removal of barriers and creating the enabling environment so that lawyers with disability can optimally function across board in the NBA.
So, I hereby make a clarion call on every lawyer with disability in Nigeria, enough of sitting on the fence. Get involved in the affairs of the NBA, right from your Branch to the National level. NBA has demonstrated obvious commitment to inclusion of persons with disabilities. A space has been created for us, and we must be there to occupy the space. We hereby call on Branch Chairmen of the NBA, to follow the leading of the national to make the Forum also work at the Branch level.
To the larger disability community, it is high time, we increased the professional content of our disability rights advocacy. And to other professional bodies, the example of the NBA is worthy of emulation. Let there be enabling environment for persons with disabilities in the medical, engineering, media and all other professions. Let persons with disabilities be enabled to attain the highest possible level across the professions. This will be a win for the disability community, whose members will have the opportunity of excelling across the professions. This will be a win for the professions as everyone will have the enabling environment to excel. On the whole it is a win for the Nigerian nation as her professionals will be more inclusive thereby fostering development.
If this can happen in the legal profession, then it can happen in all other professions. And it can happen at every sphere of the Nigerian society. And our country will be better of for it.