The Network of Women with Disabilities have demanded to be included in electoral processes and also have access to polling units.
The News Agency of Nigeria have reported that they made the request while walking and presenting the charter of demand for women with disabilities to the Federal Ministry of Justice in Abuja. The network made the request in partnership with WRAPA.
According to WRAPA’s program officer, Hajiya Zainab Abdulrasheed, removing any barriers confronting PWDs on election day and during the voting process will allow them to cast their ballots in accordance with Nigeria’s voting procedures.
In order to defend the rights of women and people with disabilities, Abdulrasheed emphasized the need for election management authorities and other stakeholders to include them in the implementation of electoral processes.
“Part of it is making sure polling places are accessible for people with disabilities so they may exercise their right to vote or vote for the candidates of their choice during elections.
“And don’t be scared, as difficult access to polling units may dissuade potential voters from exercising their right to vote.
“Now is the ideal time to support PWDs, particularly women, in the election of 2023 and beyond.”
She claims that the rally’s purpose is to raise awareness of PWDs’ rights and inclusion in the upcoming election.
She continued by saying that a shortened form of a charter of demands outlining the provisions of Nigerian legislation pertaining to the PWDs, notably women in the next elections, was launched to make to make their demands known.
“We came here to raise awareness about this goal so that all stakeholders would join in and make sure that the upcoming election in 2023 and future elections would be very inclusive of women with disabilities.
“They shouldn’t face discrimination for whatever reason, and they ought to be involved in the establishment and administration of any society in which they may exist.
“We are here to educate the public about their right to vote and be elected, which is why we are here.
“This exercise came at the perfect time leading up to the 2023 election, when voting will soon begin, and we hope INEC has put tools in place to ensure inclusivity for PWDs and others,” she said.
The vice president, Ms. Rose Daniels, also lamented the marginalization of women with disabilities in many fields and emphasized the importance of inclusion since it would give them power and help the country flourish.
“We want to be heard. We want to participate in politics. We have strong, capable women with disabilities who can run for office, receive votes, and serve in parliament.
She stated, “We are asking for our 10% quota, which I don’t think is too much, to have our place in the national polity.”
The Media and Communication Officer for the NWD, FCT Chapter, Ms. Godiya John, highlighted the necessity of including women with disabilities in all government matters, stressing their entitlement shouldn’t be denied.
“Inclusion in politics, government, health care, and education is all we’re asking for. We are requesting inclusion, our right to vote, our right to be voted for, our right to an education, and our right to a job that pays a living wage.
“We want the administration to include us in politics because we have so much talent and so much to offer the political arena of the government.
Therefore, although women normally only seek for 35% of the budget, we are just asking for 10% from the government.
“Because the majority of disabled women are moms, empowering one empowers the entire country.
“We have faced prejudice and abandonment, but if we are empowered, it will make a significant contribution.” she said.
In response, a representative of the Ministry of Justice, Winifred Oyekunle, gave the group the assurance that the issues raised will be brought to the attention of the proper authorities along with a plan for further action.
“Be confident that your issues are always taken into consideration and that your interests will be safeguarded, added Oyekunle.
“The Attorney General would try his utmost to ensure that your message is received and that you are satisfied with his choice,” she assured.