The leadership of the Taraba State House of Assembly, through the Majority Leader, Jethro Yakubu, has expressed its commitment towards domesticating the Disability Act.
The House made this known while playing host to the Executive Director of the Initiative Friends Association (IFA), Grace Jerry and the state chairman of the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria, Dr Joseph Gimba. They said the House is very much aware of the importance of PWDs in the state and the country at large hence it’s resolved not to go to bed pending when the Act is given accelerated attention.
Yakubu, who noted that the House will involve the Ministry of Social Justice in the process in order to “ensure that the bill emanated to an Act that would be established by this House of Assembly” said “We have members who are passionate about persons with disabilities. So we will work collectively to ensure that this bill is passed into law.”
He beckoned to the IFA and the coalition not to hesitate to reach out to the House with useful information that would enable them to give the Act all the necessary attention that would herald the much-desired smiles on the faces of the PWDs in Taraba.
Overwhelmed by the determinations of the members, the IFA Executive Director, who took her time to highlight the importance of the Act, said only Abia state out of the four states that IFA is carrying out the implementation, has domesticated the Act.
Stressing that the organisation is not only seeking the domestication of the Act but also pushing for the establishment of a disability Commission to be overseen by persons with disabilities, she noted that the stories of PWD in Abia state have changed for good following the establishment of the Commission.
“We are not just here to call for the domestication but for an immediate establishment of the disability Commission that will play an oversight function over the implementation of the disability, the provision of the Act and to also interface from time to time with key stakeholders especially the Miniseries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs that are expected to implement the various provisions of the Act.” She said,
The Act which she believed would provide a platform that creates a voice for PWD, will as well ensure PWD live their lives to their full potential and some accessible system will be achieved through the creation of a disability Commission.
Also on his part, the state chairman of the Coalition for Civil Society, who did not only enumerate how the Assembly through the Majority Leader has been working round the clock with the coalition to bring the Act into reality, said the state government also stands to benefit immensely from the Act if allowed to breathe.
The coalition, he said will not cease from extending all the needed olive branches that would enable the House to tread the part of Abia state which according to him, has not only domesticated the Act, “but also went ahead to established a Commission for PWD which is been headed by the PWDs.”
IFA, through the support of USAID, is implementing a project promoting the inclusiveness of PWDs in governance and socio-economic development across the four states of Abia, Adamawa, Gombe and Taraba respectively.