From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The National Commission for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD) has advocated for the enforcement of five percent employment opportunities for Persons with Disabilities(PwDs) as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.
The Executive Secretary, NCPWD, Mr James Lalu made the advocacy on Tuesday in Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State during a town hall meeting organised for North Central Zone to sensitise stakeholders on the need to create awareness on the importance of job opportunities for PwDs.
Lalu represented by the Director, Compliance and Enforcement of the commission Mr Ikem Uchegbulam, said it was important for stakeholders to be informed of the provisions of the constitution concerning the rights of PwDs which was the major point of the event.
According to him, the essence of the town hall meeting was to track, monitor and ensure that sections of the Act is complied with by the public organisations.
He noted that despite the constitutional obligation of 5% for PwDs during employment, some organisations do not comply with the law, they always find a way to deny persons with disabilities the opportunity.
“How they do so is when they say they are doing replacement, they don’t advertised vacancy but an internal arrangement.
”So, they are not obligated to adhere to the five per cent law.
“We are not relenting in our efforts to ensure five percent employment for our members. We are equally fighting and pursuing such organisations that have found a very skillful way to entrench discrimination.
“As for you participants, we implore you when you go back and do your reports, let your reports speak to the conscience of the heads of your organisations,” he said.
He expressed determination to strengthen advocacy towards ensuring that persons with disabilities are adequately represented in terms of employment in both public and private sectors.
Also speaking, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Betta Edu, Deputy Director in the ministry by Mr Sunday Hezekiah, said her Ministry will continue to provide the necessary support to the commission towards achieving its mandate.
She said the event was timely and would go a long way in sensitising stakeholders on the rights of people with disability, even as she called on organisations of labour to be mindful of the sections of the constitution which provides for the rights of persons with disability, including rights to employment.
Earlier, Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Simon Lalong represented by the Deputy Director, Inspectorate Department at the ministry, Mr Ejeh Dennis, said, the theme of the meeting was apt giving the focus of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
“I am optimistic that the outcome of this town hall meeting will further create more opportunities and access to employment for persons with disabilities in our dear country.
”I wish to reiterate that my ministry will continue to work with the Commission to ensure decent work and productive employment for PwDs as well as the protection of their rights,” he said.
The Secretary of Federal Character Commission(FCC), Mr Bello Tukur, in an interview with journalists immediately after the event assured the gathering of FCC’s to prioritise PwDs in the distribution of federal government’s employment opportunities.
”We will continue to prioritise the 5 % employment quota for persons with disabilities as enshrined in the constitution.
The Voice reports that the theme of the town hall meeting was “Employment: A necessity for a better life for persons with disability in Nigeria”.