THE EVOLUTION OF DISABILITY RIGHTS IN NIGERIA: PITFALLS AND PROSPECTS

Chineze Sophia IBEKWE, Onyeka Christiana ADUMA

Abstract


The outlook for Nigeria’s 25 million persons living with disabilities has historically been bleak. Most disabled persons lacked access to education, healthcare and employment opportunities that could lift them out of the vicious cycle of poverty and debility. This paper chronicles Nigeria’s awakening to the needs of the disabled and the economic advantage of empowering them versus condemning them to perpetual dependence. The paper examines the evolution of disability laws and policies, highlighting the contributions of disability based non-governmental organizations (DBO’s) to the national discourse on disability rights. It interrogates the efficacy of these indigenous disability laws and policies, their pitfalls and prospects for achieving enforceable disability rights. The paper gives an overview of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 and urges its speedy execution with significant representation from disabled persons. DBO’s are encouraged to keenly monitor and insist on the implementation of their rights by National Disability Commission whilst maintaining the visibility and voice of the disabled in national discourse.

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