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Senate Adopts Conference Committee Report On Disability Bill

By Michael Jegede
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The Senate on Wednesday adopted the report of the conference committee constituted to harmonize the two versions of the disability bill passed by the Red and Green Chambers of the National Assembly.

The 12-member committee is made up of lawmakers from both the Upper and Lower Legislative Houses.

According to the report presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adamu Gumba, “The bill for an act to ensure full integration of persons with disabilities into the society and to establish a National Commission for persons with disabilities and vest it with the responsibilities for their education, healthcare and the protection of their social, economic and civil rights, was a private member bill.

The senate considered and passed the bill and went on to read it for the Third time on Wednesday 27th March, 2014. The House also passed the bill and read it for the Third time on Thursday 24th May, 2012.

The only difference in the two versions is the recommendation by the Senate for the establishment of a National Commission for persons with disability.”

Reacting to the adoption of the report in a statement, Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, the Sponsor of the Senate version of the bill noted that it is a good development that would positively impact on the lives of over 22.5 million Nigerians living with one form of disability or the other.

The statement signed by the Senator's Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Michael Jegede said: “This is indeed a good development. I am very much happy that my colleagues at both Chambers of the National
Assembly understand very clearly the importance of this bill and the reason why it has to become a law in the interest of this set of Nigerians that faces some sort of discrimination in the society.”

In his presentation on the floor of the Senate last year, Abatemi-Usman, representing Kogi Central Senatorial District had said:

“The condition I present before you is that of disability. Disability as a condition has numerous social, political, economic and security implications, which are quite obvious to you. This bill will be a major milestone in the lives of people living with disabilities as it seeks to effectively check all forms of discrimination against them, while also putting in place measures that address their condition. As matter of fact, the bill will completely outlaw the discrimination of people on grounds of disability in the areas of employment, housing, transportation and similar other spheres. You would, of course, agree that without the necessary legal framework/legislation the challenges that this set of people encounter would be, mildly put, difficult to overcome.

This, in my opinion and indeed in the opinion of my colleagues, co-sponsors of this bill, no other effective means but this (legislation/legal framework) could check abuses and ensure the protection of their rights in our fledging democracy.”

After a similar adoption of the conference committee report by the House of Representatives, the bill will be sent to President Goodluck Jonathan for assent.

It will be recalled that the Senate President, Senator David Mark had remarked that everything possible would be done to ensure that the bill is signed into law after its final passage in the National Assembly.

FROM MICHAEL JEGEDE

MEDIA AIDE TO SENATOR NURUDEEN ABATEMI-USMAN

REPRESENTING KOGI CENTRAL

SENATORIAL DISTRICT