Following the signing into law of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 (“the Act”) by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Association of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria (ALDIN) has been engaging different Federal government ministries and parastatals on the importance of complying with the provisions of the Act to cater for the peculiar needs of persons with disabilities.
Accordingly, on 8th August 2020, ALDIN wrote to the Federal Ministry of Education, drawing attention to some salient provisions of the Act that the Ministry need to comply with. Specifically, ALDIN drew the attention of the Ministry to sector 17 and 18 of the Act which provide as follows:
17(1) A person with disability shall have an unfettered right to education without discrimination or segregation in any form.
(2) A person with disability is to be entitled to free education to secondary school level.
18(1) All schools whether pre-primary, primary, secondary or tertiary, shall be run to be accessible to persons with disability, accordingly every school shall have:
- At least a trained personnel to cater for the educational development of persons with disability; and
- Special facilities for the effective education of persons with disability;
(2) Braille sign language and other skills for communicating with persons with disabilities shall form part of the curricula of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.
In its response, as contained in a letter dated 28 September 2020, and signed by the Director, Basic and Secondary Education, Hajia Binta Abdulkadir, the Ministry stated that it has established the “National Educational Diagnostic and Assessment Centre (NEDAC) to cater for persons with disabilities.”
The Ministry went further to state that it has developed “National policies such as, Inclusive Education policies and the Special Needs Education Policy to cater for the needs of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.” And to ensure educational opportunities for all irrespective of any form of disabilities.
Recall that the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 was signed into law following years of advocacy by disability rights groups and activists in Nigeria. There is no gain saying that the government ministries, department and agencies have an important role to play to effectuate the provisions of the Act. It is hoped that the full implementation of the Act would lead to a more inclusive and equal society in Nigeria.
These engagements by ALDIN was part of her project during covid-19 era, and same project was supported by the Disability Rights Fund (DFR).