Disability Law Advocacy Project (DLAP), Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, has made a strong case for the inclusion of Persons with Disability in the fight against COVID-19 .
In a statement issued by Dr. J.O Olatoke, SAN (Project Head) and titled ‘Beware, do Not exclude Persons with Disability in the fight against COVID-19’ , DLAP stated that : “That COVID-19 is ravaging the world and that the world is up in arms against the pandemic is no longer news. The efforts of the international community and Nigeria to contain the spread of the virus continues to grow with little successes in the struggle. The greatest and most efficient of the tactics remain the social distance approach that is aimed at reducing close contact and thereby reducing the possible spread of the virus.
“DLAP however observe that the efforts seem to neglect or ignore the plight of persons living with disability (PWD) in our society. In the recent broadcast to the country, it is noted with dismay that there was no sign language interpreter to relay the message of the President to the hard of hearing persons. The same therefore translates also to the exclusion of other persons with disabilities. Indeed, all the measures taken so far appear to be oblivious of people with disabilities as no mention was made of them and no form of arrangements or palliatives made to support them at this critical moment.
“DLAP calls on the Federal and State governments to ensure that PWD are not left behind in the fight against this common enemy of mankind. There is therefore the need to disseminate information widely in such manners that would also be beneficial to PWD. In addition, the several economic stimulus plans rolled out by the government should not be devoid of the plights of PWD. Lagos State government plans a distribution of food materials to close to 200 families, the question therefore is to what extent PWD are covered in this scheme.
“It is therefore the call of DLAP that specific schemes targeted at persons with disabilities be formulated to ensure that they are not lost in the crowd. Specific package should be made for PWD so that their disability does not become a disadvantage at this period. DLAP also calls on NGO’s, especially its funders, Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA) to sustain targeted advocacy to ensure the victory over the pandemic.”