Nigeria: Despite Law, Nigerians Living With Disabilies Still Face Stigmatisation, Discrimination – Official

The Director General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, Abubakar Sulaiman, has said that people living with disabilities in Nigeria are still discriminated against on many fronts.

Mr Abubakar, a professor, made this disclosure on Thursday in Abuja at a public discourse organised by the institute on “The Issues, Challenges and Prospects for Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.”

Mr Sulaiman noted that unemployment rates among persons with disabilities double that of the general population, owing to attitudinal, mobility-related, technological, and physical barriers (lack of accessible workplaces).

Although there is a law – Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities(Prohibition) Act 2018 with about nine states enacting disability laws to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities to varying degrees of implementation – prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in the country, discrimination against them is still rife across the length and breadth of the country.

According to the DG, persons with disabilities experience negative attitudes at family and community levels, including name-calling and negative beliefs, saying these negative attitudes manifest in rejection, neglect, loss of respect, and denial of identity or self-worth, and often result in low self-esteem, depression and isolation.

Mr Sulaiman noted that unemployment rates among persons with disabilities double that of the general population, owing to attitudinal, mobility-related, technological, and physical barriers (lack of accessible workplaces).

Assistive devices are expensive and not easily available, which limits the mobility and access to technology for PWDs, he said, noting that many will experience frequent denial of job opportunities, employers’ negative attitudes, inappropriate job placement, and lower expectations at work, among other challenges.

Besides socioeconomic discrimination, persons with disabilities also suffer political discrimination, especially as it relates to participating in the political process, voting and being voted for, and even getting normal appointments beyond those reserved for PWDs.

He called on government officials, policymakers, and decision-makers, political parties, including the national assembly, to find ways to address these challenges experienced by PWDs as a development issue.

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