DRAAG Petitions UN On Exclusion Of Disabled In Governance —Gbenga Ogundare


The Disabled Rights Advocacy and Accountability Group (DRAAG) is writing to express the group’s serious concerns over the continuous exclusion of People With Disability (PWDs) in the decision-making processes in Nigeria, and to request the United Nations to prevail on the Nigerian government to comply fully with her obligations under the UN Convention on Rights of Persons With Disabilities which the country has ratified.

DRAAG is a non-profit human rights and development agency whose mandates include promoting and ensuring respect for good governance, especially the socio-economic and political rights of Nigerians living with disabilities, through advocacy, coalition building, information sharing, research and publications.

Our organisation is seriously concerned about the continuous discrimination against physically challenged Nigerians and their non-inclusion in policy formulation and development processes by government at all levels.

Article 42 of the Constitution of Nigeria of May 29, 1999, as amended guarantees the right to freedom from discrimination in all its forms against any person. Even though our organisation considers this a serious constitutional lacuna in that it is not specifically targeted at protecting people with disabilities, we are strongly convinced that this may be considered applicable to persons with disabilities.

The UN Convention on Rights of Persons Living With Disabilities contains similar prohibitions, and imposes clear obligations on state parties “to take all appropriate measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination on the basis of disability by any person, organization or private enterprise…” The Convention also obligates state parties to “guarantee the persons with disabilities political rights and the opportunity to enjoy them on an equal basis with others…”, and “the rights to ensure that persons with disabilities can fully and effectively participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others directly or through freely chosen representatives, including the right and opportunity for persons with disabilities to vote and be elected…”

We believe that persons with disabilities should have the opportunity to be actively involved in decision-making processes about policy and programmes, including those directly concerning them.

DRAAG is also convinced that excluding persons with disabilities from the governance process would seriously undermine global emphasis on mainstreaming disability issues as an integral part of relevant strategies for sustainable development.

Finally, we believe that strong political will and the preparedness to take firm action in this regard are so critical that in its absence, sustainable development will remain a mirage in Nigeria.


•Ogundare is Executive Director of DRAAG Tel:08036697277

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