The American government has been urged to continue to provide all the support required to influence the domestication of the United Nations’ CRPD Article 4 which is capable of bringing a permanent end to the current security challenges in the country, so that the support from the American government to Nigeria henceforth would be for visible developmental projects.
These were contained in a letter signed by the Secretary Board of Trustees, of The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) Ms. Omotunde Ellen Thompson to congratulate the Government and People of the United States of America on the occasion of the country’s 250th Independence day celebrations.
in the letter, the JONAPWD reasoned that, ” If the National Assembly, shall repeal section 12 and include the UN CRPD Article 4, into the Nigerian Constitution through its domestication during the ongoing attempt to review the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitutional by the Legislative Arm of government, we are very sure that the problems of insurgency, insecurity, terrorism, bandits, and kidnapping in Nigeria shall find permanent solutions through your continued direct helps.
“This is very important to the American government and people because as soon as the war against the security challenges in Nigeria is won permanently, the American taxpayers funds would be channeled towards the consolidation of the Nigerian democratic process that would further contribute to the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
In the letter dated 4th July, 2021 and addressed to Her Excellency Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard at the United States Embassy, Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, Abuja, FCT Nigeria with a copy sent to Anne Patterson, Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central District Area, Abuja, FCT Nigeria with the Subject, RE: Happy 250th Years Fourth of July Independence Day Anniversary, the JONAPWD clearly articulated the relationship between the American Government and Niegrians living with disability which has spanned over well two decades.
According to the letter, JONAPWD stated that, “We wish to felicitate the United States of America and her Citizens, on this auspicious occasion of July 4th which commemorates the Two hundred and Fiftieth Years (250th) Fourth of July, Independence Day Anniversary.
“The Board of Trustees of The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), especially, wishes the United States President Joe Biden, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the First Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, and the American People a happy 250th year Independence Day Anniversary.
“It is on record today that because of the direct actions taken by the American people and their Government, we the Nigerians with Disabilities are equally celebrating our independence, after more than one hundred years of being denied a Disability-Inclusive Constitution which had robbed us of our contribution to development, participation in democracy and governance as well as active involvement in the political and electoral processes at every election cycle in the country.
“We wish to seize this medium to appreciate the contributions of Nigerian-Americans and the coalition of American-based Non-governmental agencies as properly coordinated by Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc, (ERPWDI) as well as the personal efforts of their President, Chief Eric Ndubueze Ufom and Executive Secretary, Mrs. Ngozi Pauline Ikebuaku, who since more than 25 years, have been working directly in collaboration with us to advocate and negotiate for the protection and promotion of the Rights and human dignity of Nigerians with Disabilities.
“We therefore thank the American Taxpayers, never getting tired of the period it took the well-coordinated efforts of the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc, (ERPWDI) led by Chief Ufom, Mrs. Ikebuaku and the cooperation of those in their network for directly, championing our more than 20 years of negotiations and advocacy for Disability Policy Changes in Nigeria.
“They formed the arrowhead of a well organized body that held our hands to walk through the rough way to freedom by holding several high level meetings with the Nigerian National Assembly, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, Ministry of Justice and Attorney Genial of Nigeria, The Presidency’s Head of the Civil Service of the Federation of Nigeria, Office of the Secretary of the Government of Nigeria
“These committed groups that organised under one umbrella took the challenge to make life meaningful for the People With Disability in Nigeria, as they commenced the attempt to domesticate the American Disability Act (ADA) under the administration of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“The resilient group continued to push for the process even under the leadership of the Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as well as his successor, President Goodluck Jonathan,” The JONAPWD submitted.
The Board of trustees continued by appreciating the fact that the efforts were crowned finally under the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, and listing the achievements to include, ” Our Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations, signed and ratified, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. We successfully advocated for its implementation by both our Nigerian Legislative and Executive Branches of Government.
” National Assembly, successfully, enacted, harmonized, voted and passed into law, Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, pursuant to Nigeria’s obligation to impalement, the above UN Human Rights Treaty of the 21st Century, the Convention, ” as well as, “HE President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law, on 23rd January, 2019.
Continuing, the BOT pointed out that, ” The Presidency’s Head of the Civil Service of the Federation of Nigeria developed the Organogram and recommendation used by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation for the establishment of an independent, implementation National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
“On 24th August, 2020, HE President Muhammadu Buhari, established the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities. And on the same day, he announced the names of the Executive Secretary and Governing Council members, to represent each of the 6 geographical zones of Nigeria and Dr. Hussaini Suleiman Kangiwa, as Chairman.
“On 3rd December, 2020, the Honorable Speaker of the House of Representatives, established, House Standing Committee on Disability. He appointed its Committee members.
“The Plateau State Disability Rights Law was signed on December 21, 2005 and eight years later, on April, 2013, in collaboration with Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc (ERPWDI), we directly, successfully negotiated for its implementation commission to be established. We repeated the same good results in 2017.
“We wish to show our appreciation for the multiple opportunities given to Miss Omotunde Ellen Thompson, the Secretary, JONAPWD Board of Trustee (BoT), who served at the Center for Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CAPWD), as one of their major Nigerian representatives, during all those high-level meetings.
“Your Excellency, kindly note that since we formed the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities of Nigeria (JONAPWD-National), the United States Government, through the USAID-Nigeria, U.S. Mission to Nigeria, International Republic Institute, Pack-Nigeria and others, have always been our highest grants donors. You were the best in protecting and promoting our Constitutional, Social, disability and Human Rights.
“On 27th May, 2021, to ensure that we successfully, implement the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 and its National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, the United States Government, led by Her Excellency Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, held a diplomatic meeting with the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, led by the Chairman, Dr. Hussaini Suleiman Kangiwa; its South-Eastern Zone Governing Council member, Hon. Onyejelam Jaja Oparaku, the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities of Nigeria (JONAPWD-National) and Center for Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CAPWD), led by Miss Omotunde Ellen Thompson and Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Initiative (ERPWDI) (aka Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc (ERPWDI), led by Mrs. Ngozi Pauline Ikebuaku.
“The meeting was to discuss, needed urgent commitment by our Federal Republic of Nigeria, to the implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 and Its National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, as mandated by the United Nations Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities, especially, its article 4 (4.3).
“Currently, there are thirty-one (31) million Nigerians with Disabilities, Almajiris, IDP, Nigerian wounded Military men and Women, who would be direct beneficiaries of a proper implementation of the disability law that was originally designed to protect them, but were denied constitutional, civil, human and disability rights to enjoy equal independence like the Americans with other Nigerians, due to section 12 of the 1999 Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution.
“They shall have the full independence to enjoy real Disability-Inclusive and accessible Developments which would enhance their contribution to nation-building in their chosen field of human endeavour, if section 12 is successfully repealed by the National Assembly during the ongoing 1999 constitutional review.
“They shall also fully start participating in Democracy and Governance to the best of their aspiration; have the opportunity to make Political contribution and exercise their rights during the electoral process even as they would be factored into the plans of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030 Agenda just like Americans with Disabilities.
“Once again, we wish the American people and government through the staff of the American Mission in Nigeria, a Happy 250th Year Independence Day Anniversary”, the JONAPWD Board of Trustees Secretary wrote.