Buhari Finally signs disability bill into law, request N1m fine for offenders

Akpabio Reveals First State Buhari Will Win

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a bill protecting persons with disabilities into law. Ita Enang, senior special assistant to the president on national assembly matters (Senate), said this in a statement released on Wednesday.

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The development is coming about a week after the president said he had not seen the bill. nang said the law provides for fines and jail terms for persons or corporate bodies discriminating against persons with disabilities.

“This act prohibits all forms of discrimination on the ground of disability and imposes fine of N1, 000, 000 for corporate bodies and N100, 000 for individuals or a term of six months imprisonment for violation concurrently,” he said.

“It guarantees right to maintain a civil action for damage by the person injured against any defaulter. “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 in wheelchairs.”

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Enang said the law also provides for the establishment a commission for persons with disabilities. ‘’Before erecting any public structure, its plan shall be scrutinised by the relevant authority to ensure that the plan conforms with the building code,” he said.

“A government or 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 five per cent of employment opportunities for these persons.”