NBA to provide accessible facilities for physically challenged lawyers – Maikyau

Group photograph of participants during the Nigeria Bar Association - Lawyers With Disabilities (NBA-LWDF) 2022 conference in Abuja


The President of The Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) , Yakubu Maikyau, SAN said the association under his watch would provide the necessary accessibility facilities and aids for physically challenged lawyers at the Supreme Court and The NBA Secretariat.

He stated this on Tuesday during the 2022 Conference of The Nigerian Bar Association – Lawyers With Disabilities Forum (NBA- LWDF) held in Abuja.

NATIONAL ACCORD reports that the theme of the conference is”Lawyer With Disabilities In Nigeria: Realities, Challenges & Expectations”.

Maikyau, who decried the wrong impression and stereotyping towards lawyers with disabilities, called for more advocacy to liberate the minds of the people from such and to focus more on their innate abilities and potentials.

He said: “Am not comfortable with the use of the word disability for lawyers or any human being. The word disability set a limit in the psychic of people that happens to dampen their aspirations, expectations and set limitations to their dreams.
He explained that words influence and create the world, stressing that every time we describe ourselves as disabled, it does no good to us.”

“However, I have seen the resilience of members of this Forum. I have seen purposefulness in what you have done. I can see everything you bring to bear in anything that you do.

“I can see your conviction and persuasions; and put it side by side with what you describe yourselves in this Forum, Imagine if that had been taken away, we would not be where we are today. We would have gone far.

He noted that the NBA remain committed to ensuring the promotion and protection of the rights of millions of Nigerian lawyers living with one form of challenges or the other.

To this end, he said The NBA would demonstrate strict compliance with the National Disability Act seeking for 5% inclusion of persons with disabilities in the association’s committee for next year’s Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA-AGC).

On his part, The Executive Secretary of The National Commision for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD), Mr James Lalu, commended NBA- LWDF for organizing its maiden edition conference.

Mr. Lalu also lauded the efforts of lawyers with disabilities in enforcing The Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, which he said can not be over emphasized.

He said: “Even when the Discrimination Against PWD Prohibition Act was passed by the then National Assembly and the Executive Arm of government did not signed it into law, the lawyers with disabilities never relented.

“They pushed so hard and here we are today. Therefore, we will always be grateful to lawyers with disabilities in Nigeria.

“However, we are working on regulations and we are hoping that, as soon as possible we are going to achieve these regulations.

“The regulations make it very clear and provide the standard dimension and necessary measurement for a unified standard facilities that are disability friendly across the country.

“The law provides five years period in which everybody or organisations must adjust to provide accessibility in their own offices and environments,” Lalu said.

Mr. Lalu, however, called on the members of the NBA to ensure that their offices, secretariat, meet with the accessibility standard for lawyers with disabilities in Nigeria.

Earlier, in her remarks, The Secretary, Governing Council of LWDF, Mrs. Patience Etumudon, described the theme of the conference, as apt and timely as it would tackle some of challenges facing the physically challenged lawyers such as negative stereotyping, unemployability status, lack of aids to access public and private facilities and offices, amongst others.

She also stressed the need for the adoption of technologies in enhancing the job delivery of lawyers living with disabilities.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Conference Planning Committee, Mr Ikem Uchegbulam, said the essence of the Maiden Conference was to bring stakeholders in the legal profession to evaluate the realities, prospect and challenges that LWDs are facing in Nigeria.

“We have been able to identify the inaccessibility of facilities, including courtrooms, employment deficiency and issues relating to technology and how PWDs can be able to have a version that are accessible to them especially persons with visual impairment.

“We are looking at the realities, challenges, prospects and how these things can be cured, so that LWDs can actually engage in legal practice without limitation,” Uchegbulam said.


The OPINION / COLUMN is authored by independent contributors to the National Accord Newspaper. While contributors adhere to our editorial guidelines, they are not employed by the National Accord Newspaper. The perspectives and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of the National Accord Newspaper or its staff.

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