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What Nigerian law says about treatment of people with disabilities

The National Disability Act is a key to the full reintegration of Nigerians with disabilities.

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is responsible for public awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities in Nigeria [Global Giving]

In January 2019, then Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, signed a historical piece of legislation Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

With the Act, discrimination of any form, shape, or size against any Nigerian with a disability became punishable.

There are over 31 million people with disabilities in Nigeria. This makes Nigeria by far one of the largest nations with a significant number of people with disabilities worldwide.

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  1. Nigerians with disabilities are protected against discrimination and harmful and inhuman treatment, including cruelty, inaccessibility to the public building due to lack of suitable paths to mobility.
  2. It prohibits discrimination against Nigerians with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state and local government programmes and services.
  3. The law requires business owners to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees with disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is defined as any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable an applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.
  4. Also, the law provides for the right of children with disabilities, including the right to health, education, work, and employment, right to drive, right to communication, right to the communal life, right to participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport.
  5. The law provides for opportunities for federal commissions to address complaints of harassment, discrimination, and harmful practices amongst others.
  6. The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture is responsible for public awareness of the rights of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.

In a nutshell, the National Disability Act is, according to the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CDC), "key to rehabilitation and reintegration of persons with disabilities."

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This article was originally published in 2022.

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