James Lalu, executive secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), has accused Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of not caring for persons with disabilities (PWD).
Atiku had recently asked PWDs not to vote for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 elections.
The former vice-president had accused the ruling party of failing to implement the disability law despite its passage by the national assembly.
Speaking at press briefing on Thursday, Lalu said when Atiku was a vice-president on the platform of the PDP, he made no impact on the lives of PWDs.
He said PDP states have not implemented the law while states like Plateau, Lagos, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Jigawa and many others controlled by the APC have gone far in laws for PWDs.
He said since Buhari came into power, he has always had the interest of the PWDs at heart.
“During the first and second terms of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, the disability community struggled, even when the bill was passed by the national assembly, Atiku and PDP did not sign it into law,” Lalu said.
“I can still remember when the disability community went out to protest and called the attention of the then government, the only result we got was that we were tear-gased.
“We will always appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari. He is the best friend of disability community and PWDs.
“When he came to power, he was able to listen to the cries of PWDs. In 2014 in Lafia, Buhari, during his campaign, promised to sign the disability bill into law.
“On January 17, 2019, Buhari signed the Discrimination Against PWDs Prohibition Act. On August 17, he approved my appointment and that of the governing board.
“That marks the beginning of the NCPWDs and here we are. This testifies that Buhari has since commenced the implementation of the act, something Alhaji Atiku and PDP could not do.”
He said Atiku should rather focus on PDP states and urge them to domesticate the law.
“We also want to remind governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, that the disability law had not been passed or signed in Delta,” Lalu said.
“Also to Aminu Tambulwal, the law was passed in Sokoto state, but he is yet to sign and implement it.
“We want to call the attention of the PDP’s presidential candidate for the 2023 election to focus his energy on calling on the governor of Adamawa to sign the disability bill into law.
“Many states controlled by PDP are yet to domesticate the disability law. The disability community now knows the people that know the road and favour them.”
He added that as far as the commission is concerned, Buhari is the best president Nigeria has ever had.
“So, we are doing a lot, but we are not happy when we see politicians making bad comments and trying to condemn the government of Buhari that has done so much for us in Nigeria,” he said.
“As far as disability community is concerned, Buhari is the best president in the history of the country. He has set a standard and the next government would have to maintain and improve upon it.
“Ordinarily, this should not have attracted our response, but it is very important for us to put the record straight so that every Nigerian would know the truth and the Buhari’s achievements for PWDs.”
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