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Disability bill finally heads for presidential assent

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Disability bill finally heads for presidential assent


The Senate has passed the conference committee report on the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities bill.

The bill seeks to ensure full integration of persons with disabilities in the society and establish a national commission vested with the responsibility for their education, health care, social, economic and civil rights.

The controversial bill has been passed by previous assemblies but failed to get Presidential assent.

But, with several courtesy visits paid to the current  President of the Senate combined with organised protests from people who stand to benefit from this bill, the conference committee report of the bill was considered.

Presenting the report was Senator Kabir Marafa who stated that there were observations raised by the directorate of legal matters on clauses that needed to be addressed after the bill had already scaled third reading and was about to be transmitted to the President.

The conference committee met with the directorate on Thursday, the 18th of October 2018 to address the fundamental issues raised and, resultantly, clauses 38 and 45 (1-3) were adjusted.

Under clause 38, part of the functions of the commission is to enforce compliance with public building codes, impose necessary sanctions and make appropriate orders.

According to Marafa, these functions appear to duplicate the function of regulatory bodies in the building industry.

He said: “If the commission must perform such function, then it is better to do it in collaboration with other relevant government agencies in the building industry- architecture, engineering, estate surveying and evaluation, quantity surveying, urban and region planning.”

For Clause 45 (1), which is concerned with funds for the commission, there was no specification on the source of the funds and where it may be paid into.

It was recommended thus: “The commission shall establish and take a fund into which shall be paid and be credited by (a) all subventions and budgetary allocations from the federal government of Nigeria (b) such monies as made from time to time be granted to the commission by anybody or institution within or outside Nigeria.

“The commission shall deploy all expenditure inquired by it and it shall include the cost of administration, the payment of salaries, fees, or their remuneration, salaries, pensions or gratuities payable to members and employees of the commission.”

The recommendations were adopted.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, noted that it is very unfortunate that the bill took so long to be processed but the issues raised were germane.

He advised committees saying: “Going forward, we did make it mandatory now that committees should ensure that before they lay the report, the director of legal should review, it is not after we have passed third reading that we will now send it to legal.”

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