On Friday, March 24th, 2023, the Voice of Disability Initiative, an advocacy organization focused on disability rights, visited the Nasarawa State High Court with the support and funding of the Disability Rights Fund (DRF), an international organization based in Boston, USA that promotes disability rights worldwide. During the visit, Mr. Okoroafor Alexander Uchechukwu explained that their objective was to secure the Chief Judge’s commitment to protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities, particularly women and girls with disabilities, while advocating for the proper implementation of the Nasarawa State Disability Law


Barr Mary Musa, a member of the VDI Team, discussed the implementation of the Nasarawa State disability law, which includes a five-year transition period for ministries, departments, agencies, and public institutions to comply with the law’s requirements, particularly with regards to ensuring building accessibility and providing a 5% disability quota for employment. She emphasized the importance of the Nasarawa State government ensuring healthcare access for people with disabilities, especially women and girls with disabilities, and recounted two instances where women lost their babies due to inaccessible healthcare infrastructure and communication. Additionally, she highlighted the need for accessible transportation and quality education for individuals with disabilities to live normal lives and fully participate in society.


Moreover, she emphasized that people with disabilities have unique and diverse needs, and these needs must be addressed according to their disability clusters. Failure to comply with the law’s provisions after the five-year transition period allows individuals with disabilities to take legal action against offending organizations or individuals for up to 1 Million naira (for organizations) and N100 thousand naira (for individuals). Barr Mary Musa also expressed the VDI Team’s strong desire to see the law effectively implemented. Additionally, she stressed the importance of ensuring that courts are accessible for individuals using wheelchairs and that sign language interpreters are available to facilitate communication for the deaf in court proceedings.


During the visit, Mrs. Asaba Averson expressed her dissatisfaction with the slow progress of activities within the Disabled Commission. She believes that appointing individuals without disabilities to lead the affairs of persons with disabilities often leads to unsatisfactory outcomes. Mrs. Averson also highlighted the inaccessibility of the Disability Commission and emphasized that the full implementation of the Disability law would ensure accessibility.


Mr. Okoroafor further reinforced the need for the advocacy visit by recounting the appalling case of an 89-year-old blind woman who was repeatedly raped by a politician seeking supernatural protection. The politician not only raped her but also inserted dangerous objects into her private parts in an attempt to kill her. Fortunately, he was apprehended, and justice was served.


Furthermore, Mr. Okoroafor brought attention to the case of a 15-year-old deaf girl who was a victim of gang rape in Obi local government of Nasarawa State. He spoke about VDI’s involvement in the case and the importance of following up to ensure that justice is served. The Deputy Chief Registrar spoke on behalf of the Chief Judge and pledged her commitment to collaborate with the VDI Team to achieve their advocacy goals.

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