Delta State Persons With Disability Bill Awaits Final Legislative Processing

A Bill for a Law to safeguard people living with Disabilities Against All forms of Discrimination, and Equalizing their Opportunities in all Aspects of Living in the Society has sailed through second reading on the floor of the Delta State House of Assembly.

Entitled “the Delta State Persons Living with Disability Bill 2023” the bill was read the second time after extensive debate of its merits led by the lead sponsor and member representing Ika North East Constituency, Hon Marylyn Okowa-Daramola at Wednesday’s plenary, presided over by the Speaker, Emomotimi Dennis Guwor.

Okowa-Daramola in her emotions filled presentations, eloquently digested the many advantages of the proposed law, saying that the bill was already an Act of the National Assembly.

Sighting relevant sections of the constitution which provides and supports the dignity of human life and protection of persons with disability, the Lawmaker said the Bill is to promote inclusivity of persons with disability, protect their rights to access to education, health care and equal opportunity to political and social life.

She said, “the bill with 19 co-sponsors, seeks to safeguard people living with disability against all forms of discrimination, equalize their opportunities in all aspects of living in the society as well as establish the Delta State Commission for Persons with Disability and other related matters”.

Hon Okowa-Daramola, hinted that the 3 parts and 51 clause bill, would, among other key objectives, ensure the establishment of Special Schools (Primary and Secondary) in all the 25 local government areas of the State to cater for the those categories of people in the state.

The Lawmaker who described the bill as long overdue, explained further that the proposed law would enforce prohibition of all forms of discrimination, harmful treatment and denial of right to inclusion and access of the environment.

She stated that the bill when passed and signed into law, would also amongst other provisions ensure that all transport service providers in the State “shall make available and mark appropriately one out of every 10 seats in a public bus for the use of persons with disability”.

Okowa-Daramola said the Commission to be established would be saddled with the responsibility of policy formation and implementation, data collation and record keeping for persons with disability and receiving of complaints of their rights being violated.

In addition she said, “the Bill seeks to empower the physically changed to sue any individual, corporate body, government and private agencies for damages in the event of violation of their fundamental human right as well as forbid them to be subjected to any medical or scientific experiment without their consent, torture, cruelty, inhumane or degrading treatment”.

The Deputy Speaker, Arthur Akpowowo, Majority Leader, Emeka Nwaobi, Deputy Majority Leader, Emeka Nwaobi, Chief Whip, Perkins Umukoro, member Representing Bomadi, Oboro Preyor, Ndokwa West, Charles Emetulu, Ndokwa East, Emeka Osamuta, Oshimili South, Bridget Anyafulu and Isoko south 1, Hon. Ferguson Onwo, described the bill as apt and commended Hon Marylyn Okowa-Daramola the initiative to bring in the bill for legislation.

In their contributions, members representing Ughelli North 1, Mathew Omonade, Patani, Emmanuel Sinibe, Warri South 1, Augustine Uroye, Oshimili North, Frank Esenwah and the Minority leader, Dafe Emakpor, acknowledged the need for speedy passage of the bill as it would uphold the rights of the physically challenged, as well as unlocking the talents embedded in them which in no small way would enhance peace , foster development and creating opportunity for all.

The Speaker, Rt Hon Emomotimi Guwor who commended the robust debates on the bill, referred it to the House joint Committees on Housing, Women Affairs Girl Child Entrepreneurship and Humanitarian Support Services and Special Committee on Bills to report back to the House in two weeks.

In an interview some physically changed persons present at plenary commended lawmakers for their various submittions in support of the Bill saying respite was on the horizon for them, and thanked the lead sponsor of the Bill for the initiative.

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