Another Human Capital Bill Passes Second Reading As Sponsored By Hon (Engr) Ikpamezie //Hot Read

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HON ENGR INNOCENT IKPAMEZIE’S BILL FOR A LAW TO REPEAL THE IMO STATE AGENCY FOR PERSONS LIVING WITH DISABILITIES (ESTABLISHMENT) LAW,2017 AND TO ENACT A LAW TO DOMESTICATE THE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PROHIBITION) ACT, 2018 IN IMO STATE AND FOR OTHER RELATED MATTERS HAS PASSED SECOND READING AND NOW AT THE COMMITTEE STAGE FOR PASSAGE

Hon Engr Innocent Ikechukwu Ikpamezie, the vibrant and pragmatic Member Representing Mbaitoli State Constituency has continued to show and demonstrate practically that he came for the interest of his constituents and the people of Imo State, at large. This time around, he has shown great compassion for the people with disabilities.

Hon Ikpamezie has moved from empowering people with disabilities to sponsoring A BILL FOR A LAW TO REPEAL THE IMO STATE AGENCY FOR PERSONS LIVING WITH DISABILITIES (ESTABLISHMENT) LAW,2017 AND TO ENACT A LAW TO DOMESTICATE THE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PROHIBITION) ACT, 2018 IN IMO STATE AND FOR OTHER RELATED MATTERS. The Bill passed its second stage during plenary on Wednesday, 13th March, 2024.

In the Bill, Hon Engr Ikpamezie made his intentions known, with a clear objective, which is to protect persons with disabilities and to ensure they are no longer discriminated against when it is finally passed and signed into law.

According to Hon Ikpamezie, during his explanation on the floor of House, “The Bill is structured and divided into 11 parts and 56 sections”. The Only Voice from Mbaitoli State Constituency further explained that “—— there was already a law for the disabled persons in Imo State enacted in 2017. However, this law did not address ALL THE NEEDS of the disabled in the society, HENCE the need for a more inclusive and detailed Bill” .

He went further to list areas persons with disabilities are being discriminated against, arguing that many of them face a number of Human Rights Violations and Abuses including :

  • Violence.
  • Stigma.
  • Discrimination.
  • Lack of access to healthcare.
  • Lack of access to housing.
  • Lack of access to education.
  • And so on and so forth. “The essence of this Bill is to stop these Abuses and Discrimination, while making life better and more prosperous for the disabled people”, the energetic lawmaker pleaded, while seeking for support from his Distinguished Honourable colleagues.
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Further drawing out emotions, Hon Innocent Ikpamezie moved to inform the House that the World Health Organisation’s 2011 World Disability Report showed that about 15% of Nigeria’s population (about 25 million people) were living with disability.

He also noted that as soon as Nigeria ratified the United Nations Convention On The Rights Of People With Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007 and its Optional Protocol in 2010, Civil Society and Persons with disabilities swung into action by calling on government to put it into practice. This, according to Hon Ikpamezie, led the National Assembly in 2011 and 2015 to Pass the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill, which was however not signed into law. Hon Ikpamezie moved further to inform the House that the Bill for the New Law was passed by the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House Of Representatives in November 2016, which was eventually signed into Law by former President Mohammadu Buhari on the 23rd of January 2018. ” This Act is what we are Domesticating in Imo State through this all important Bill”, Hon Innocent Ikpamezie added.

Since the National Assembly has done its part by enacting the Act, it behoves on Imo state to follow suit, Ikpamezie argued, which he said when Passed and Signed into Law would enable Persons with Disabilities to enjoy the following in the State :

  1. Right to Education without discrimination, access to free education at secondary school level and that every Public School will have trained Personnel to cater to their needs and teaching aids specifically tailored to their needs.
  2. Right to Healthcare.
  3. First Consideration in queues.
  4. Employment Opportunities.
  5. Access to transportation by road, sea and rail, with gadgets suitable for disabled persons.
  6. And so on and so forth.
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The Bill imposes sanctions which includes fines and prison sentences on those who contravenes it.

The Bill which was celebrated on the floor of the House, was Co-sponsored by Hon Bennett Ozioma Ebonine (Njaba), Hon Bernard Ozoemelam (Ehime Mbano), Hon Kanayo Onyemaechi (Owerri-West), Hon Dominic Ezerioha (Oru-West), Hon Chisom Ojukwu (Nkwerre) and Hon Henry Agbasonu (Ezinitte Mbaise).

The following Honourable Members made contributions to the Bill :

  1. Hon Barrister Chisom Ojukwu, Member Representing Nkwerre State Constituency.

2 Hon Chief Bennett Worship Ebonine, Member Representing Njaba State Constituency.

3.Hon Engr Gilbert Chiedozie Nwosu, Member Representing Oguta State Constituency.

4.Hon Chief James Uba Esile, Member Representing Onuimo State Constituency.

5.Hon Barrister Sam Ikechukwu Osuji, Member Representing Isiala Mbano State Constituency.

6.Hon Princewill Ugochukwu Amuchie, Member Representing Aboh Mbaise State Constituency.

7.Hon Engr Johnson Duru, Member Representing Ideato South State Constituency.

8.Hon Johnleoba Iheoha, Member Representing Ikeduru State Constituency.

In their submissions, they commended the Chief Promoter of the Bill, Hon Engr Sir Innocent Ikechukwu Ikpamezie for his human and humane spirit, foresight, feelings and love to think for the disabled people in the society. They agreed that persons with disabilities should enjoy what others are enjoying, arguing that the Bill is very essential and when passed and signed into Law should be strictly ensured that all its provisions are adhered to. For example, Able bodied persons using Disabled persons to beg for alms, as a source of revenue, should be punished. Describing the Bill as a working document when passed and signed into law, the supporting Honourable Members said that it should be circulated in Offices, Churches, Schools, Markets and everywhere, in order to disseminate the information and ensure persons with disabilities have sense of belonging.

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Impressed with the quality of submissions from Honourable Members, the Speaker of Imo State House Of Assembly, Rt Honourable Chike Olemgbe put it to vote and it was unanimously adopted.

The Bill having passed the Second Reading is now at the Committee stage ready for passage.

Citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha writes from IMHA Owerri.

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About Princely Onyenwe 2450 Articles
Princely Onyenwe A seasoned Investigative Journalist, Civil Rights Activist, and Political Analyst, Currently Editor and News reporter with 9News Nigeria www.9newsng.com www.facebook.com/9newsng