A COMMUNIQUE OF A CONSULTATIVE forum
WITH PERSONS WITH DISABILITY (PWDS) HOSTED BY YOUTH ALIVE FOUNDATION
on 20th June, 2019 at Chelsea Hotel, Abuja
The Consultative forum with
Persons with Disability (PWDs) was successfully hosted by Youth Alive
Foundation (YAF) at Chelsea Hotel, Central Business District, Abuja between
10am – 4pm on Thursday 20th June, 2019. The forum brought together
civil society actors, disabled peoples organizations, students, academics and
the media to deliberate on the strategic theme of “Corruption,
Accountability and Disability: Understanding the Connections”.
The meeting was organized as a
major activity under the disability intervention of the YAF’s DFID funded
Strengthening Youth Participation Against Corruption (Y-PAC) project.
Corruption drains resources for social programming and limits citizens’
confidence in public institutions. PWDs are more vulnerable than others to the
adverse impacts of corruption. They experience various barriers that hinder
their full and effective participation in society on equal basis with others.
Such barriers include access to education, healthcare, public facilities and
negative stereotypes. PWDs face physical and attitudinal barriers to participation in
education, the labor market and development processes in general. Combined with
the consequences of corruption, this makes PWDs more vulnerable. The consultative forum with Persons with
Disability (PWD) was aimed at gaining firsthand knowledge of the challenges
faced by PWDs and how corruption fuels these issues. The deliverables from the
consultative meeting will contribute to the disability interventions on the
Y-PAC project and serve as a programming and advocacy tool.
The one-day meeting had over 70
people in attendance. Participants composed of young people and experts were
drawn from various organizations among which are: Center for Citizens with
Disabilities (CCD), Nigeria Association for the Blind, The Albino Foundation,
Inclusive Friends Association, Association of Deaf Persons, Cedar Seed
Foundation, Persons with Disabilities Action Network (PEDANET). The meeting had 3 major sessions which included
a paper presentation and 2 Panel Discussions.
Presentation: Dissecting the National Disability Right Law for Effective CSOs
Engagement and Addressing Corruption in Nigeria.
This paper presentation was delivered by Dr. Adebukola
Adebayo; a Disability rights advocate. The session explored the major contents
of the Disability Law some of which included awareness raising on disability
issues, access to infrastructure and prohibition of all forms of abuse and
sanctions for violators of the disability law. The sessions which was
interactive also had a session for questions and answers. The session exposed
some issues and also highlighted some observations and recommendations; They
The Disability Law sets the ethics and standards
on how the affairs of PWDs will be addressed.
Failure to implement the National disability law
is failure to comply with globally accepted ethics and standards of managing
disability affairs and thus could be termed as corruption and a doorway to
discrimination of PWDs.
Some PWDs are themselves key actors in the
entire corruption episode. As such, PWDs should not perceive corruption as an
external element to the disability community.
Corruption must be engaged with a twin-track
approach; as an internal element and as an external issue. Corruption should
also be dealt with as a cause of disability, and also understood as one of the
domains where corruption currently thrives in Nigeria.
For example, procurement of Assistive aids for
PWDs is a major space where corruption occurs.
The paper concludes that PWDs and their organizations
must build capacity on issues of corruption and anticorruption strategies;
collaborate with mainstream anticorruption movements and support the process of
developing disability-sensitive tools for anticorruption advocacy, monitoring
and other forms of engagement.
Panel: Corruption in the Education Sector and its impact on Persons with
Disabilities in Nigeria
This session was facilitated by Mmanti Umoh; a
management consultant, rep of the common wealth youth council and a person with
disability. The session was composed of 5 discussants who were all youths. They
shared their stories which captured challenges faced by PWDs in the Education,
health, socio-economic, sports and Transportation sectors.
Key highlights/observations/Recommendations from
this session include:
The Education sector is plagued with so many
corrupt issues. For example, Institutional issues and poor implementation of
some policies which affect PWDs in Tertiary institutions as well as diversion
of funds and budgets allocated for PWDs.
Access to buildings and school facilities presents a challenge for PWDs in tertiary
There is little publicity in the mainstream
media about disability inclusion.
In the sports sector, PWDs are unable to access
funding and resources.
Panel: Corruption, Accountability and the Disability Community in
This session was facilitated by Rasak Adekoya; a
social development expert and a person with disability who advocates for
inclusive development for the blind. The session was aimed at exploring how
corruption affects PWDs across all spheres of the Nigerian society. The session
also x-rayed structural responsiveness for PWDs. The panel was composed of 5
experts who engaged in critical discussions around the aim of the session.
Recommendations from this session include:
The Health sector is unresponsive to the needs
of PWDs. An example is the lack of interpreters and aids in health facilities.
Interventions around this will alleviate the issues faced by PWDs.
PWDs face major discrimination in the electoral
system. For example, besides the priority voting system, INEC’s provisions for
accessible voting materials and other inclusive electoral practices do not
cover the entire population of voters with disabilities. Also, the INEC data
does not fully capture disability credentials.
There is a reasonable degree of lack of
transparency and accountability within and among organizations of persons with
disabilities in Nigeria. This is responsible for regular crises and instability
in the disability community.
There is low awareness on constitutional and
human rights issues among PWDs; thus making it difficult for them to seek legal
protection when their rights are violated.
There is low level of collaborative efforts
between Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs) and mainstream CSOs in the
anticorruption movement. This is responsible for the low level of awareness on
corruption issues, and poor participation of PWDs in the anticorruption
There is poor or inadequate accessing and
utilization of the 2% UBE funds set-aside for special and inclusive basic
education. This is responsible for the increasing number of out-of-school
children with disabilities in Nigeria which is currently put at between 3-5
There is inadequate data on disability issues
and persons with disabilities at national, subnational and local levels. This
hinders inclusion of PWDs in development policies and programmes at design and
planning stages. Disability issues are thus often taken as after-thought
issues; thereby reducing prospects for inclusion, access and participation.
The National Disability Law and similar laws and
policies at national and state levels should be fully implemented in order to
protect the rights of PWDs and reduce their exposure to the negative
consequences of corruption.
OPDs and PWDs must build capacity on the use of
the FOI Act to demand accountability from duty bearers regarding all programs
and activities involving the implementation of all aspects of disability laws
and policies at national, subnational and local levels.
Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) and other Civil
Society Organizations (CSOs) should collaborate with DPOs and PWDs in general
towards addressing the capacity gaps existing among PWDs in issues relating to
corruption, anticorruption and how it connects with disabilities. When PWDs
become armed with the right knowledge and information, they will be better
positioned to become active citizens in the fight against corruption.
PWDs and OPDs should increase their advocacy for
Open budgets across all sectors including the Education sector as well as
probing if such budgets are disability inclusive.
Sports should be considered as a tool for
inclusion of PWDs within and beyond formal institutions. Adequate funding and
other resources should be made available and accessible to disabled sports men
and women in this regards.
PWDs must have the right representation in
Government to advocate for their issues and rights. Therefore, there is need to
strengthen the capacities of PWDs on governance issues for effective
representation and advocacy.
The charity model of disability contributes to
the discrimination faced by PWDs; therefore, the social and rights-based model
must be advocated for because it deals with structural issues faced by PWDs.
More publicity and awareness on Disability
rights is required in order to reduce various corrupt practices perpetuated by
other persons against PWDs.
Disability-sensitive Anti-corruption and
disability-inclusion subjects should be mainstreamed into primary and secondary
Provision of assistive tools and aids in should
be prioritized across all levels of education.
The rights of PWDs to study academic courses of
their choice should be respected by tertiary institutions rather than forcing
them to study special education.
In accordance to the National (and other
state-level) Disability Laws and Policies, appropriate Sanctions should be
imposed on perpetuators of all forms of discrimination, abuse and other corrupt
practices against PWDs across all facets of society.
Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) must be
transparent and accountable to its members in terms of financial and programmatic
processes. This will facilitate reduction of corrupt practices within the
disability community and strengthen their capacity to reduce the negative
impacts of external corrupt practices perpetuated against PWDs.
PWDs must be informed about constitutional
processes and be exposed to free and/or subsidized legal support services in
handling their rights-based issues and/or other business matters so that they
are effectively protected.
PWDs must understand the intricacies about the
electoral process and be armed with the right information and capacity in
advocating for disability friendly electoral laws and policies.
OPDs and PWDs should work with mainstream
anticorruption CSOs to develop Disability-sensitive anticorruption advocacy,
monitoring and capacity-building tools.
Center for Citizens with
Nigeria Association for the
The Albino Foundation,
Inclusive Friends Association,
Association of Deaf Persons,
Cedar Seed Foundation,
Persons with Disabilities
Action Network (PEDANET).
National Association of Persons
Living with Physical Disabilities
Kanawa Educational Foundation
for the Disabled.
Akwa Ibom State Association of
Federal College of Education
Caring Heart Show
Joint National Associations of
Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD)
Haly Hope Foundation
Rubies Total Care
University of Abuja Students
Human and Organizational
Resources Development Centre (HORDC)
Bayero University Kano (BUK)
Sight Savers International
Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) appreciates all
participants for their constructive inputs in the deliberations which produced critical
observations and recommendations which will guide future programming on
Dr Udy Okon