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Group clamours for inclusion of women, girls with disabilities in governance

Grace Okon
A Non Governmental organisation, Cedar Seed Foundation, has clamoured for accurate inclusion and participation of women and girls with disabilities in governance and decision-making process to address the various challenges facing the disability communities.
Speaking during the World Press Conference on Disability Inclusion in Governance DIG,  Lois Auta, the founder of Cedar Seed Foundation CSF, said that it is saddening that few women and girls with disabilities participate in governance in Nigeria.
According to her, all strategy to fast-track the implementation and inclusion has to be explored, including Article 29 of the UNCRPD and Section 30 of the Nigeria Disability Act 2018.
Mrs Auta called for proper implementation of the 2018 Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2022 and other international charters to enable them to contribute to nation building and also compete favourably.
“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 Women in Africa, also known as “Maputo Protocol” all advocate our rights to participation in the political and decision-making process and special protection.”
“Some of us have run for elective positions without winning due to factors, barriers, and challenges that are stopping us.” Auta said.
The Project Officer, Disability Inclusion in Governance of the Foundation, Comrade Shedrack Danladi, reaffirmed the need for proactive measures to be taken to achieve and sustain the goal for inclusivity in electoral processes especially post 2023 elections and future elections.
The project officer lamented that despite the launched of a charter by Network of Women with Disabilities with WRAPA and MacArthur Foundation earlier in February this year, which contains 11 articles for key actors to implement; presently, women and girls with disabilities in Nigeria are at a zero percent level of participation in governance.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen shortly after the press conference, the Chairman, Association of Persons with Disabilities in Southern Kaduna, Mr. Habila Achi, commended Cedar Seed Foundation for championing the cause of their members and appeal to those in leadership positions, to consider persons with Disabilities in their appointments because of the role they played during elections and for inclusivity.
Earlier in an interview, the FCT chapter chairman of persons with disabilities Mr. Christian Agbo scored the federal government zero for the first 100 days in office for neglecting PWDs adding that the persons with disabilities population in Nigeria is bigger than some African country’s population.
Mr. Agbo said that  For issues related to persons with disabilities to be accurately addressed there is a need for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in political positions corridor of power, especially the presidency.
Mr. Agbo indicated that the persons with disabilities are over 31 million in population which is equal to the population of a country in Africa and also as the government is promising to curb poverty in Nigeria persons with disabilities should be adequately included in the process.
Mr Agbo further emphasised that the lack of appointments for persons with disabilities led to the absence of addressing issues that affect persons with disabilities in the country.
He recalled that at the previous government leadership, there was a special Assistant to the President on disability matters but reversed the case during our present government, so we are calling on the present government to include persons with disabilities in the ongoing appointment process.

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