Non-enactment of disability law: court fixes Nov. 15 to resume hearing of suit
October 24, 2017
Onwe, a lawyer with disability, had commenced the suit against the National Assembly in 2014, for its failure to enact a law protecting the rights of persons living with disabilities in the country.
The suit, which was earlier slated for continuation of hearing was on Tuesday further adjourned until Nov 15, following the absence of the judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji.
The plaintiff who appeared as counsel for himself was, however, present in court to take a new date for hearing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the suit was first assigned to Justice Mohammed Yunusa, and later to Justice Jude Dagat after the transfer of Yunusa from the Lagos division of the court.
Again, following the transfer of Dagat out of the Lagos division, the suit was re-assinged to Justice Mohammed Aikawa.
Aikawa had on Feb. 2, struck out the suit after the plaintiff informed the court that he was withdrawing same.
Meanwhile, the plaintiff re-filed the suit on Feb. 9, seeking similar relief from the court.
The suit numbered FHC/LA/CS/168/17 is now assigned to Justice Faji.
In his suit, Onwe argues that the absence of such legislation as a disability law, amounted to a violation of the rights of the physically challenged, whom he estimated at more than 10 million in the country.
The lawyer is therefore seeking an order mandating the respondent to immediately enact the necessary laws to protect the rights of persons living with disabilities.
Onwe argues that the law would help to stop the violation of the fundamental rights of the physically challenged persons in the country.
He stated that their fundamental rights that were being violated with the absence of such laws were guaranteed by Sections 33, 34, 39, 40, 41 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution.
He argued that these rights were also contained in articles 4, 5, 9, 12(1), 13(3), 18(4) and 24 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.
According to Onwe, public buildings, sidewalks and other architectural structures meant for the general public, are not accessible as they have architectural barriers such as steep steps which are often without lifts and ramps.
An affidavit supporting the suit stated, “I know as a fact that draft bills for disability legislation have at different times been presented to the National Assembly for passage which did not eventually metamorphose into law”.
Onwe, therefore, seeks a court order directing the respondent to do as required.