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Nigerian Politics

NGO tasks Govt on inclusion of women with disabilities in governance, decision-making processes

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NGO tasks Govt on inclusion of women with disabilities in governance, decision-making processes

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By Matthew Denis

In a bid to ensure gender equality, A Non Governmental Organization called Disability Inclusion in Governance (DIG) has charges government at all levels of Inclusion in decision making process.

The President of DIG, Mrs. Louis Auta made the disclosure while addressing Newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.

She said ” Share the objectives of Disability Inclusion in Governance Project will outline ideas, recommendations and strategies from women with disabilities to Nigerian governments.

“Key conversations on the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act at the Maputo Protocol and United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

“We have gathered here to delve deeper into a vital initiative that addresses a pressing issue in our society – the inclusion and active participation of women with disabilities in governance, and decision-making processes.

“As you are aware, women with disabilities face myriad challenges when navigating the electoral and political landscape. We are excluded, discriminated, sidelined, marginalized, underrepresented and treated as third class citizens in society.

Mrs. Auta explained that Article 6 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is captured as “Women with Disabilities” and article 9 and 23 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, also known as “Maputo Protocol” which also talks about the right to participation in the political and decision making processes and special protection of Women with Disabilities.

She stressed that the Network of Women with Disabilities with WRAPA and MacArthur Foundation launched a “Charter of Demands for Women with Disabilities in February 2023 with 11 articles for all key actors to implement.

“Presently, it is sad that women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria are at a zero percent level of participation in governance. Some of us have ran for elective positions without winning our elections due to the factors, barriers and challenges that are stopping us. These barriers could be attitudinal, infrastructural, institutional, political, cultural, and economical.

“We have identified the challenges faced by women with disabilities in the electoral and political sphere. We need to explore strategies to fast track the implementation of article 29 of the UNCRPD and section 30 of the Nigeria Disability Act 2018.

The president noted that this project therefore seeks to ensure inclusion and participation of women with disabilities in governance and decision-making processes.

“This project is informed by the lack of proper implementation and execution approach of the 2018 Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, clause 54 of the electoral act 2022, foreign laws and treaties in Nigeria. As a result, women with disabilities are continually marginalized, excluded and underrepresented in elections and political participation.

“An informed and proactive measure is therefore needed to achieve and sustain the goal for inclusivity in all electoral processes most importantly post 2023 elections and future elections. We need to remind government that persons with disabilities need to be appointed in government structures.

She revealed that the Cedar Seed Foundation (CSF) in partnership with Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) with funding support from MacArthur Foundation is launching an ambitious project, known as the Disability Inclusion in Governance (DIG) program, which seeks to confront these challenges head-on.

“This project is born out of the stark realization that the existing legal frameworks, including the 2018 Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act and Clause 54 of the Electoral Act 2022, have not been adequately executed. This has resulted in the continuous marginalization and exclusion of women with disabilities from our electoral processes, governance structures and political discourse.

According to her the objectives is to ensure that no one including women with disabilities, is left behind in political participation and the decision-making process. This objective underscores our commitment to leaving no one behind in our democratic journey.

” To specifically target people with disabilities for political participation, involvement in decision-making, and the robust implementation of Clause 54 of the Electoral Act 2022. It is our firm belief that this targeted approach is crucial in effecting meaningful change.

“To create a dynamic platform where disability experts, donor agencies, civil society organizations, and policy formulators and implementers can converge. This platform will foster dialogue and action on issues related to disability inclusion in governance. The activities of the program involves stakeholder participation, civic education, implementation of clause 54 and media campaigns.

The Group recommended that it is imperative that we expedite the implementation of Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and Section 30 of the Nigeria Disability Act 2018 to ensure our complete inclusion.

She said ” Enhance voter and civic education among women with disabilities ensuring their participation and inclusion and Amplified voices of women with disabilities in the post-2023 elections, pushing for their inclusion in the national discourse and appointments.

“Concrete implementation of Clause 54 of the Electoral Act 2022, a vital step towards inclusivity. Increased participation of women with disabilities in politics and decision-making processes following the 2023 elections.

“The sustained growth of democratic governance, characterized by the inclusion of women with disabilities, fostering their political participation and involvement in decision-making.

“Encourage women with disabilities to join political platforms and play active roles through the disability/gender friendly political party manifestoes, constitutions and code of conducts that ensure their inclusivity and engagement at all levels

“Reserve a quota system opportunities for women with disabilities at least one in each state assembly and the national assembly in Nigeria.

“Appoint women with disabilities in every appointment opportunity at all levels of government according to section 29 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act, 2018 which states that minimum appointment of 5% quota for persons with disabilities with emphasis on women.

” Organize a national dialogue with the first lady of Nigeria, H.E. Senator Oluremi Tinubu on the inclusion of women with disabilities in the Renewed Hope Initiative and other women committees.

She noted that the Cedar Seed Foundation is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring that every citizen, regardless of their abilities, has an equal and active role to play in our democratic process, most importantly, women with disabilities, who are triple jeopardized.

” We call upon all stakeholders, including government institutions, civil society organizations, and the media, to unite with us in this noble endeavor to make our democracy truly inclusive and representative of the rich tapestry of voices that make up our nation.

The President acknowledged their enablers, partners and donors for making this possible without their support and making the event loudable.