The attention of our Association has been drawn to the Lagos State Special People’s Law 2011 which seeks to safeguard people living with disability from all forms of discrimination and equalise their opportunities in all aspects of living in the society.
The Law provides for protection of the interest of persons who live with disabilities and particularly addresses the issues of protection for them on matters of access, employment, privileges, and standard of living, among others.
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, commends the Lagos State Legislature and also the State Executive which, we also understand, is about to establish the Office of Disability Affairs that the Law prescribes as the Implementation Agency.
This is one piece of legislation which is capable of lifting Nigeria out of a so-called third-world classification into one which truly counts among those that have climbed into true civilisation.
We pledge to support the implementation of the Law in the hope that its operators implement with a human face and in the spirit and letter of its objects and prescriptions.
The Law has a bearing to our industry in its prescription on access of persons who live with disabilities to telecommunications services which it specifically mentions and indeed access of such persons to all other services which it presents largely as implied.
We invite attention of all Members of our Association, other players in our industry, and indeed all employers of labour in the land to this Law and commend it to them for uncomplicated implementation as best as possible in our circumstance.
It is important that other State Governments and indeed the Federal Government take a lesson from this law and do the needful to ensure its national embrace and progressive implementation. We certainly cannot continue to ignore the significant contribution which those, among us, who live with disabilities, are capable of bringing into productivity and national development.
We hope and pray that the Office of Disability Affairs which the Lagos State is about to establish to implement this Law will be up to good and not turn out to be an exuberant organisation whose attention will only be to extort, abuse, or focus only on a particular industry or on a set of employers in the manner of an earlier but very unfair legislation, of the same Lagos State, which had to be challenged in Court and put in its proper place.