A group of Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) on Friday demanded more inclusiveness in the implementation of the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) from Nigerian Governments ahead of the 2030 deadline.
The group which comprises different PWDs clusters made the demand at a consultation meeting organised by SightSaver, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Lagos.
The meeting is on Mid-term Review of Disability Inclusion in SDG Implementation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an SDGs summit, scheduled to hold from Sept. 18 and Sept. 19 in New York, marks the mid-point of the implementation of the 17 SDGs designed by world leaders in 2015.
The deadline for the implementation is 2030.
The SDGs are to serve as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people of the world and the planet.
The summit will bring together political and thought leaders from governments, international organisation, private sector, civil society, women and youths and other stakeholders in a series of high-level meetings.
They will carry out a comprehensive review of the state of the SDGs and respond to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing the world.
The leaders would provide high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to the 2030 deadline for achieving the SDGs.
Mrs Esther Bature, Country Advocacy Coordinator, SightSaver, said that the consultation by the PWDs is to enable them to make recommendations to the government in addressing some of the gaps identified in the implementation of the SDGs.
Bature said that the recommendations of the PWDs would be presented to the minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for submission at the SDGs summit.
“The world leaders had during their declaration of the SDGs at the UN National Assembly in 2015 promised that, in implementing the goals, they would leave no one or group behind.
“By leaving no one behind, means that they would include everyone, regardless of their ability, race, gender and vulnerability status.
“This year, we have met the mid-point of the implementation of SDGs, because it is ending in 2030, and world leaders would be meeting next week in New York to assess how far they have gone with the implementation, especially from the lens of disability inclusion, and as such, we want the voices of the PWDs to be heard there.
“That is why the NGO launched an equal world campaign under the umbrella of Joint National Association of PWDs (JONAPWD),” she said.
According to her, more than 25 members of the association were selected from the six- geopolitical zones of the country to look at the SDGs that are peculiar to the PWDs and see the level of their implementation by the government.
Bature listed the PWDs clusters at the meeting to include the Association of the Blind, Association of Persons With Albinism, Spinal Cord Association of Nigeria, Association of Person Living With Down syndrome and Association of the Deaf.
She said that while the Nigerian Government had done a lot in the implementation of the SDGs, it needed to do more in relation to the PWDs for proper inclusiveness.
“For instance, many public facilities are not built to be PWDs-friendly, we have dearth of interpreters of sign languages in public facilities such as hospitals and schools.
“Talking about Education For All, our schools are not inclusive for children living with disabilities, neither are the teachers trained to work with children living with disabilities,” the coordinator said.
Commenting, Mr Abdulahi Usman, National President of JONAPWD, also said that the government needed to do more in the implementation of the SDGs as regards inclusiveness for PWDs..
He said that the SDGs could not be achieved without carrying along the PWDs in drafting and implementing policies that concerned them.
“It is not possible for able persons to think and draft policies for PWDs. It is only someone who has a disability that can do justice to such decisions,” he said.
After several sessions facilitated by Dr Bukola Adebayo, the group came up with a communique.
The PWDs demanded that the government should come up with modalities for making the design and implementation of poverty alleviation programmes suitable to the needs of persons with disabilities.
They said that registration procedures for the various National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) and the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programmes should be adapted to capture disability status of applicants.
The group said that there was need for the government to issue disability certificates to PWDs in line with the Disability Act, to ease access to health services.
The PWDs added that the free health provisions of the Disability Act should be activated to reduce high cost of health services for them.
They also demanded that a special health policy should be made to accommodate the special health needs of PWDs, especially those with severe impairments.
The group wants all states to be mandated to adopt and implement the National Policy on Inclusive Education to tackle the problem of out-of-school children with disabilities.
The PWDs said that implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAAP) Act at national and state levels should be made inclusive of women with disabilities.
“ The government should, among other things, design and implement awareness and empowerment programmes targetted at women and girls with disabilities to eradicate stigma, discrimination and other abuses they experienced,” they said.
NAN reports that the 17 SDGs include eradication of poverty and hunger, provision of good heath, quality education, clean water and affordable and clean energy.
SightSavers is an international NGO that works with partners in developing countries to prevent avoidable blindness and promote equality of life for people with visual impairments and other disabilities. (NAN)