The Federal Government has announced its plan to close public buildings that do not satisfy the minimal accessibility requirements, commencing from January 17, to enforce accessibility standards for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Dr. James Lalu, the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities’ Executive Secretary, made the statement on Thursday during a press conference in Abuja.
This decision follows a five-year ultimatum given to organisations to align with accessibility rules, which ends on January 16, 2024, and is part of the celebrations celebrating the 2023 International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Dr. Lalu that the commission, which was instituted to uphold laws pertaining to disabilities, would shift from advocacy to enforcement.
A task force composed of relevant stakeholders will be formed to guarantee the execution of accessibility laws, and enforcement will begin in full on January 17 at 12 a.m.
The task force is expected to conduct physical assessments of key offices to ascertain compliance with accessibility requirements.
“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 staffing decisions, and then the maintenance of the five people in these institutions.”
Dr. Lalu noted that the evaluation would cover staff structure as well as physical facilities, guaranteeing that businesses continue to provide the legally required five percent of jobs to people with disabilities.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, the administration of President Bola Tinubu is fully in favour of the implementation of accessibility laws.
Dr. Edu stressed that all Nigerians have a shared responsibility for the efficient implementation and enforcement of disability laws.