By Funmilayo Olagunju
Persons living with disabilities are not less of a human. The Law protects the right of such people against discrimination and exploitation.
Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 provides for the full integration of persons with disabilities into the society (subsequently referred to as the Act). In addition to this Act, there are State laws in some States that further protects such people.
Section 57 of the Act gives the definition of persons with Disabilities:
(a) a person who has received Temporary or Permanent Certificate of Disability to have condition which is expected to continue permanently or for a considerable length of time which can reasonably be expected to limit the person’s functional ability substantially, but not limited to seeing, hearing, thinking, ambulating, climbing, descending, lifting, grasping, rising, and includes any related function or any limitation due to weakness or significantly decreased endurance so that he cannot perform his everyday routine, living and working without significantly increased hardship and vulnerability to everyday obstacles and hazards; and
(b) a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on equal basis with others.
Discrimination against a person on the ground of disability is a punishable offence with fine, imprisonment or both. The Act provides for accesibility aids in public places to make them accessible and usable for persons with disabilities.
Section 16 of the Act prohibits the use of persons with disabilities to solicit for alms. The right to inclusive education demands that schools have facilities and at least a trained personnel for persons living with disabilities.
Prompt service at queue for persons with disabilities it not just a moral expectation, it is a legal obligation. Section 26 of the Act provides;
(1) In queues, persons with disabilities shall be given first consideration and, as much as possible, be attended to outside the queue.
(2) A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N50,000.00 or a term of six months imprisonment or both.
“‘Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but fear your God. I am the LORD”
Leviticus 19:14 (NIV)