Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) have protested the non-inclusion of members of its community in the ministerial appointment list of President Bola Tinubu.
Addressing a media conference under the aegis of the Community of PWDs on Tuesday in Abuja, the group said the omission of PWDs contravened the Discrimination Against PWDs Prohibition Act 2018.
According to the group, the act calls for the inclusion of at least five per cent of PWDs in public office appointments.
The chief executive officer of The Albino Foundation (TAF) Africa, Jake Epelle, said the current lack of representation in the Federal Executive Council list marked a missed opportunity to advance equality and justice for PWDs in Nigeria.
He said before the establishment of the cabinet, PWDs, their representative organisations, and the House of Representatives had lobbied for the allocation of 10 per cent of ministerial positions to individuals with disabilities.
“Regrettably, in spite of this concerted effort and appeal, the new cabinet list presented to the senate for screening and approval includes no ministers identifying as PWDs,” he lamented.
Mr Epelle said several PWDs organisations and other political leaders, including the international community, had previously called upon Mr Tinubu to appoint PWDs as ministers.
He added that there was even a discussion about creating a dedicated ministry for disability affairs.
He, however, said the absence of group members in the new cabinet list deflated the hope and anticipation fostered by these discussions.
Grace Jerry of the Inclusive Friends Association said if the president identified with the community, it was time to share the agenda of the community of PWDs with him.
“If, at this point, there are 48 nominees, it means that more allowances can still be created to bring in more PWDs on board,” she said.
She also said the community demanded the enforcement of section 29 of the Discrimination Against PWDs Prohibition Act, 2018, which states a five per cent appointment quota for PWDs at all levels of government.
She added that the community was presenting a seven-day timeline to address the enumerated concerns, or it would be compelled to amplify advocacy efforts.
PWDs had at different times advocated for the inclusion of PWDs in the governance process in Nigeria, and the appointment of PWDs into ministerial and commissioner positions is one of their demands.