The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Disability, Rep. Bashir Dawodu, has called for a review of the laws on disability to specifically include protection clauses for women and children.

Dawodu made the call at the National Conference for Women with Disabilities to celebrate the Disability Day and 16-Day of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The event, with the theme “Economic Empowerment: A Catalyst for Eradicating Gender-Based Violence Against Women with Disability”, attracted female stakeholders from the disability community in the country.

He commended the Executive Secretary of National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Mr James Lalu, for positively touching the disability community in the country.

“However, the gateway to get out of gender-based-violence is economic empowerment. We have already moved for motions concerning Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the house.

“It is insufficient to just have a law on paper without implementation. So we are set to aggressively implement the Discrimination Against PWDs (Prohibition) Act.

“We also recognised that there are gaps in the Act. It does not address women and children with disabilities as much as we would like, especially in terms of gender issues; it is almost absent in the current law.

“There is also an Act called the VAPP Act which does not address women with disabilities, and that is a lot of concern to us. Stiffer penalties are needed for perpetrators of sexual violence against women with disabilities.

“We also know that there are challenges confronting the women. Some of those things are what we are going to address in terms of how we do our work by motions and bills,” Dawodu said.

The Lawmaker revealed that there is a plan to collaborate with Civil Society Organisations to create awareness and carry out advocacy, because most PWDs are in the rural areas.

According to him, some of them don’t understand English language and as such, their traditional rulers could be used to educate them using their native languages.

Dawodu also called for the domestication of the laws, adding that from the last assessment, it was only 13 states that domesticated the disability act.

“If there is more domestication in the states, they will know how to reach the rural areas. These are the areas we are looking at. There is need for women and children with disabilities to have access to education.

“Also, the budget for the Commission is low, comparing to the over 35 million PWDs in the country. I want to that the government is on your side and will fight for you.

“We also appreciate the Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders working in this field. You are a source of inspiration, because, the government can not do it alone. The PWDs only need inclusion,” Dawodu stressed.

Speaking earlier, Lalu thanked President Bola Tinubu and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, for their commitment to the disability community.

“NCPWD will remain committed to ensuring that women with disabilities get the highest percentage when it comes to our empowerment programmes at all levels. We recently started some. There will be more in 2024.

“As we enter 2024, every live of the PWDs will be touched in one way or the other,” Lalu stressed.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that officials from the Ministries of Information and National Orientation, Labour and Empowerment, National Directorate of Employment, National Human Rights Commission also pledged their support for the Commission

Meanwhile, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has recommended that public toilets be provided for Women with disabilities.

The high point of the event was the unveiling of a document on the experience of survivors of GBV across the country

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