By: Prudence Okonna
Nigeria has joined the league of countries to sign the African Disability Protocol (ADP), which is a significant step towards promoting the rights of people with disabilities in Africa.
The protocol was signed by the Nigerian government on February 13, 2023, at the Headquarters of African Union in Addis Ababa.
In a statement released by the Communications Unit of Sightsavers Nigeria, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, (NCPD) James Lalu said, the signing is historic for Nigeria and for people with disabilities across Africa.
Accordingly, Nigeria signs this protocol with the support of an international non-governmental organization, Sightsavers.
The statement added that the ADP demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment to promoting the rights of people with disabilities and ensuring that they are included and valued members of society.
The statement noted that Nigeria Country Director Sightsavers, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, expressed delight to have supported the government in signing the ADP.
His words: “This is a significant step towards creating a more inclusive society where the rights of people with disabilities are respected and protected. We look forward to working with the government and other partners to ensure that the protocol is fully implemented. We also hope this encourages more African governments to adopt the protocol.”
The African Disability Protocol is the legal framework based on which member states of the African Union are expected to formulate disability laws and policies to promote disability rights in their countries, the statement said.
The statement revealed that the ADP was adopted by the African Union in 2014 and came into force in 2018; providing a comprehensive framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities in Africa, including the right to education, employment, healthcare, and accessibility.
According to the statement, Sightsavers through its “Equal World Campaign” is working with partners across Africa to call on their governments to ratify the ADP, which needs 15 ratifications to become law.
Meanwhile, Sightsavers has been working closely with the Nigerian government to ensure the country’s commitment to the protocol and the final step after signing will be for the government to fully ratify the treaty.