FG may shut down organisations violating accessibility laws for PWDs

The Federal Government has disclosed that it will shut down public buildings that do not comply with the minimum standards of accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, from January 17, 2024.

The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, NCPWD, Dr James Lalu, stated this on Thursday while briefing newsmen in Abuja.

Lalu, speaking at the news conference which was organised as part of the sixteenth days activism to commemorate the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities disclosed that the commission would swung into action immediately after the expiration of the five years ultimatum given to organisations by the Federal Government which is expected to elapse on January 16, 2024.

“This commission was established with the full responsibility for the enforcement of its laws and it has been stated in the commission’s establishment laws.

“Five years was given to organisations to comply with accessibility laws and now the five years will expire in January 16 next year, we are now transiting from the era of advocacy to enforcement.

“By January we would go out in full force to make sure that the provisions of the law is properly enforced”, he said.

Dr Lalu noted that the commission would engage all relevant stakeholders to constitute a special taskforce to ensure implementation of the accessibility law.

“We would start meeting with own partners to constitute a taskforce immediately before this Christmas, everything will be on ground before the end of this year.

“So that as we come in early next year, the taskforce will swung into action immediately by January 17 at 12 am, the enforcement of accessibility laws will take effect.

“The commission’s taskforce will move out in full force and will start visiting key offices for physical assessment of facilities in the key offices”, he added.

The NCPWD Boss also said, the commission would ensure that organisations not only comply with their accessibility requirements but the five percent employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

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“Our assessment may not only end on the physical facilities, but the composition of the staff in these institutions.

“We want to know how many they have as persons with disabilities, the total number of the staffing decisions and then the maintenance of the five person in these institutions.

“So we have to find out all of these, so they will come to know whether they comply with the provisions of the law”, he said.

On her part, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Dr Betta Edu, said, the commission received a full backing of President Bola Tinubu’s Administration in the implementation of their accessibility laws.

Edu assured the Executive Secretary of her support to ensure enforcement of accessibility laws.

She stated that the effective implementation and enforcement of the relevant Disability laws is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians.

Edu further assured all stakeholders of their determination to support the commission in its quest to protect the rights and privileges of its members.

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