PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has given assent to the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, which among other things, will ensure that corporate entities, as well as public institutions, reserve at least five per cent employment opportunities for persons living with disabilities.
The law would see to it that corporate bodies and individuals face sanctions if found guilty of discriminating against persons with disabilities.
Ita Enang, Buhari’s National Assembly liaison, who announced the assent on Wednesday night said that the Act prohibits all forms of discrimination on the ground of disability and imposes fine of N1, 000,000 for corporate entities and N100,000 for individuals or a six months imprisonment for violation concurrently.
“It guarantees right to maintain a civil action for damage by the person injured against any defaulters,” Enang said.
“It provides for a five-year transitional period within which public buildings, structures or automobile are to be modified to be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities, including those on wheelchairs.
‘’Before erecting any public structure, its plan shall be scrutinised by the relevant authorities to ensure that the plan conforms with the building code.
“A government agency, body or individual responsible for the approval of building plans shall not approve the plan of a public building if the plan does not make provision for accessibility facilities in line with the building code.
“An officer who approves or directs the approval of a building plan that contravenes the building code commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of at least N1, 000, 000 or a term of imprisonment of two years or both.’’
“Discrimination is prohibited in public transportation facilities and service providers are to make provision for the physically, visually and hearing impaired and all persons howsoever challenged. This applies to Seaports, Railways and Airport facilities.
“The rights and privileges include education, healthcare, priority in accommodation and emergencies.
Furthermore, all public organisations are to reserve at least 5% of employment opportunities for these persons.
“The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities is also established in Section 31 with Executive Secretary as the head.”
The assent comes just a few days after the president blamed lawmakers for not passing the bill.
The lawmakers, however, refuted the claim, saying that the bill was actually being held up by the office of the president at the time.