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Disability Network: Respecting rights of PWDs necessary for upholding Nigeria’s values

Disability Network: Respecting rights of PWDs necessary for upholding Nigeria’s values
May 20
08:45 2022

The Nigeria Business Disability Network (NBDN) says respecting the rights of people with disabilities (PWDs) without prejudices remains necessary in upholding the country’s values.

Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, chairperson of NBDN, spoke at a conference tagged “Eliminating Barriers Against Inclusive Workplaces In The Private Sector” organised by the organisation in Lagos on Thursday.

She called on Nigerians to “recognise persons with disabilities for who they are — effective agents of change whose contributions bring enormous benefits”.

“Respecting the rights of people with disabilities (PWDs) is necessary for upholding Nigeria’s values of dignity, respect, understanding, and generosity. While we may have side-lined some of these values as a nation, causing us to relegate inclusion efforts, our collective duty as Nigerians is to ensure that we reignite these efforts and, consequently, our values as a people,” Victor-Laniyan said.

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“As we set out to drive the various agendas within our organisations, we must recognise persons with disabilities for who they are — effective agents of change whose contributions bring enormous benefits. We must better understand the importance of empowerment, accessibility, and equity in sustainable development. We must foster collaboration with other businesses, civil society, disability communities, and international organisations.”

In his goodwill message, James Lalu, executive secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWD), said private businesses must provide enabling environment for PWDs to ensure they can perform optimally and demonstrate their talents.

“Our collaboration with the private sector forum today will see us working together with them to support them in realising that people with disabilities are employable. Once we see the private sector getting people with disabilities, the commission will get them assistance devices and technologies that the PWDs need to demonstrate the ability in their disability in that workplace,” he said.

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“We believe that PWDs are smart and innovative once given the opportunities. So we want to make sure that we reduce discrimination. Some people in the private sector are quick to write off PWDs’ ability to work. But the reality is that when you see somebody, sit down with the person and try to understand him. He knows what he can and cannot do. And your ability to give him a listening ear is the only justice the disability community truly need.”

On his part, Adebukola Adebayo, a disability inclusion consultant for World Bank, revealed that only 0.3 per cent of PWDs are “gainfully employed” in Nigeria, adding several are still battling discriminatory barriers.

He then asked private businesses to employ PWDs because “they are more secure and responsible”.

 

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