By Sunday Ejike Benjamin
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called for a review of the nation’s planning and building regulation codes to accommodate the special needs of persons with disabilities.
A statement by the commission’s Chief Press Officer, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed said the review will make Nigeria comply with the United Nations Convention on Right of Persons with disabilities access to public buildings.
The statement said the Executive Secretary of commission; Prof. Bem Angwe made the call at a sensitization meeting on access to public buildings by persons with disabilities in Calabar recently.
He said amending the nation’s building regulations has become necessary to enable the physically challenged people contribute their quota to nation building.
According to Angwe, “It is important for persons or agents in charge of public buildings and facilities to ensure that all planning and building regulations correspond with International and national human rights instruments and those provisions are implemented in order to enhance the protection of the rights of persons living with disabilities in our society.”
The NHRC boss said the situation necessitated an audit of public buildings and it was found that, “In constructing buildings and facilities such as pedestrian bridges, public conveniences, offices, homes etc, the designers fail or neglect to factor in the specific needs of people with disabilities.”
Angwe said, “It is important to increase awareness on needs of persons with disabilities in our society within the context of what the affected persons experience when accessing public buildings and facilities.”
He said the idea of viewing persons with disabilities as objects of charity should be jettisoned because they have the right to be treated as full and equal members of the society in line with the current global trend.