Five months after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Disability Act into law in January 2019, its implementation has yet to begin. 

The lack of action by the government is at the fore of a petition for an equal world for individuals living with some form of disability, to be launched on Monday by SightSavers, an organization that advocates for the rights of persons with a disability.

The petition, which aims to get member countries of the United Nations to uphold the rights of PWD’s, is seeking signatures around the globe. 

The signed appeals will be handed over to the global body and governments of member states at the UN General Assembly in New York, USA, in September.

“In Nigeria and around the world, people with disabilities are denied the rights to go to school, find a job, access health care and take part in political processes. This discrimination is an injustice on over 20 million Nigerians with disabilities,” Sunday Isiyaku, Country Director of SightSavers said in a release Monday. 

This class of persons has been largely underdeveloped, leading to lost economic opportunities in countries where prejudice and a lack of growth among PWD’s is rife. 

Tessa Murphy, Campaign manager for the Equal World petition, said the organization hopes to show the UN that there is a rising intolerance for the continued ignorance of the rights of PWD’s.

“We want to show the widespread support for disability rights here and around the world. We want every government and the UN to know that people everywhere are no longer prepared to tolerate the rights of 15 percent of the world’s population being denied.”

Apart from the global call to the UN, the Equal World petition has specific calls to action targeting the governments of Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, India, Ireland, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda. 

The petition can be signed at www.sightsavers.org/equalworld.

SightSavers has campaigned for the rights of PWD’s since 2013. Within that span, it has made concerns around disability a priority among international organizations and several national governments.

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