The federal government has signed the African Disability Protocol (ADP) to ensure an inclusive society where the rights of People with Disabilities (PWDs) are respected and protected.
Joy Tarbo, the spokesperson for Sightsavers, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday. The statement said the protocol was signed by the government on February 13 with the support of Sightsavers through its Equal World campaign in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. According to her, the ADP is the first legally binding instrument to protect the rights of people with disabilities in Africa.
Sunday Isiyaku, country director of Sightsavers, said, “We are delighted to have supported the government in signing the African Disability Protocol. This is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive society where the rights of people with disabilities are respected and protected.”
Mr Isiyaku added, “We look forward to working with the government and other partners to ensure that the protocol is fully implemented. We also hope this encourages more African governments to adopt the protocol.”
James Lalu, the executive secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, described the treaty as a historic moment for Nigeria and for people with disabilities across Africa.
“The signing of the African Disability Protocol demonstrates our commitment to promoting the rights of people with disabilities and ensuring that they are included and valued members of our society,” Mr Lalu noted.
The ADP was adopted by the African Union in 2014 and came into force in 2018. It provides a comprehensive framework for protecting and promoting the rights of people with disabilities in Africa, including the right to education, employment, healthcare, and accessibility.
Sightsavers is working with partners across Africa to call on their governments to ratify the ADP, which needs 15 ratifications to become law. Disability campaigners in these countries are asking their governments to join Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Mali and Rwanda and make the treaty legal for all.
Sightsavers has been working closely with the Nigerian government to ensure the country’s commitment to the protocol. The final step after signing will be for the government to ratify the treaty fully.