By Justina Auta
Network of Women with Disabilities (NWD), Tuesday, demanded for inclusion in the electoral process at all levels and access to polling units nationwide.
The Network, in collaboration with the Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative(WRAPA) made the call during a walk and presentation of the charter of demand for women with disability to the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja.
Hajiya Zainab Abdulrasheed, Programme Officer WRAPA, said the removal of any physical barrier faced by PWDs during election day and in the electoral processes would enable them vote in line with Nigeria’s polling system.
Abdulrasheed, stressed the need for election management bodies and other stakeholders to protects the rights of women and PWDs, urging them to include them in the implementation of electoral processes in Nigeria.
“Part of it is ensuring polling units are accessible for PWDs and be able to participate meaningfully during election to exercise their franchise or voting candidates of their choice.
” And not be intimidated because inaccessibility of polling units can deter prospective voters from exercising their franchise.
“And this is the right time to promote PWDs especially women in the 2023 election and beyond.”
According to her, the rally exercise was to create more awareness and promote the rights and inclusion of PWDs in the forthcoming election.
She added that an abridged version of a charter of demands that spells out what the provisions of the laws of Nigeria in disabilities rights are pertaining to the PWDs, particularly women in the forthcoming elections was also launched to make their demands known.
“We came to create awareness on this purpose for all stakeholders to come on board and ensure that the forthcoming 2023 election and beyond have to be very inclusive of women with disabilities.
” And to ensure that their rights are not infringed upon.
” They should not be discriminated for any reasons, they should be part of any development and governance in any society where they may exist.
“That is why we are here for people to know that they have a rights to vote and be voted for.
” This activity came at the right time towards the 2023 election, where we know that polling is about to take place and we hope INEC has put in place resources to ensure inclusiveness for PWDs and others alike,” she said.
Also, Ms Rose Daniels, Vice President, decried that women with disability have been relegated to the background in every sector, stressing the need for inclusion, which would empower them and contribute to national development.
“We want to be heard, To be included in the political sphere, we have capable women with disability who can run for offices and be voted for, to be in the parliament.
“We are demanding for our 10 per cent quota which I believe is not too much, to have our space in the national polity,” she said.
On her part, Ms Godiya John, Media and Communication Officer NWD, FCT Chapter, reiterated the need for inclusion of women with disability in all the affairs of the government, adding their right to inclusion should not be denied.
“All we are asking is inclusion in politics, governance, health, education. We are asking of inclusion, our rights to vote, rights to be voted for, rights to education, rights to gainful employment.
“We want government to include us in politics, we want them to know that there is so much ability in us, so much we can contribute to the political sphere of the government.
” So, we are asking for inclusion, women generally are asking for just 35 per cent, but we are asking for only 10 per cent from government.
“When you empower a woman with disabilities, you empower the nation because most are mothers.
“We have been discriminated and abandoned, but when we are empowered it will go along way in the contribution of the development of the country,” she said.
Responding, Representative of the Ministry of Justice, Winifred Oyekunle, assured the group that issues tabled will be presented to the relevant authorities with a follow up action.
Oyekunle said, “be assured that your issues are always considered as your interest will be protected.
“The Attorney General will do his best as your message will get across and you will be happy with his decision,” she said. (NAN)