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Cross River Assembly Passes Disability Rights Bill into Law

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The Cross River State House of Assembly on Wednesday, passed into law the disability (full integration) bill 2021 in what may be its last session for the year.

The bill was passed after the House considered the report of the joint committee on judiciary, public service matters, public petitions and social welfare led by Chris Mbu-Ogar (APC, Etung).

Sponsored by Regina Anyogo (APC, Yala 1) alongside the Violence Against Persons Prohibition bill which was passed earlier this month, the law will criminalize discrimination against persons with disabilities such that corporate bodies and individuals will face sanctions if convicted of the offence.

“It was intended to provide for the full integration of persons with disabilities into the socio-political and economic spectrum of the society as it seeks to increase access and opportunity for people with disabilities across community life, including employment, transportation, healthcare services, public accommodation, Communication and access to State and Local Government programmes and services,” Mbu-Ogar said while presenting the report.

The Lawmakers, while contributing to the debate agreed that the law will encourage persons with disabilities to be actively involved in the political process and governance in the Society.

They unanimously voted for the third reading of the bill after which it was passed.

The Speaker, Eteng Williams, (APC, Yakurr 2) subsequently directed the Clerk, Barrister Bassey Ekpenyong to forward clean copies of the bill to Governor Ben Ayade for assent.

This signals a victory for different civic space actors including Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwumah and her team at Projects Alert as well as James Ibor Esq and his team at Basic Rights Counsel Initiative.

The duo, with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa have been at the forefront of sensitizing the public on the need for both laws.

(Agency report)

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