People with disabilities in Kaduna State in Nigeria took to the streets in May to protest a proposed law banning street begging and hawking. The administration of governor Nasir el-Rufai said that the goal was to keep children in school rather than begging in the street and to enhance security after a street bombing that left 25 dead and others injured.

But activists say the government needs to enact the Disability Rights Law and provide gainful employment before they ban the primary means of income for people with disabilities.

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People with disabilities in Nigeria protest a proposed law that would outlaw begging on the streets — a main source of income for many. Credit: Julius Shemang

Despite decades of activism and advocacy by nongovernmental organizations, disability legislation in Nigeria has been stymied since 2013 when a bill was passed by the National Assembly during the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo but never signed into law by the president. The current Senate reintroduced and once again passed the Disability Bill in June 2016 and it is waiting for presidential approval. …

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Amina Azimi, founder of Women with Disabilities Advocacy Committee, lost her right leg from a rocket propelled grenade that crashed near her home. (Credit: UNDP Afghanistan)

Amina Azimi was a young girl when she lost her right leg from a rocket propelled grenade that landed near her home in Kabul. Her family took good care of her but didn’t want her to leave the house as they feared for her safety, and Amina was frustrated by the inactivity. Eventually, her mother helped her return to school but the teachers wouldn’t let her play with the other children.

In the community, people would say things like, “Death is better than being in this situation.”

“When this happened to me and I became disabled, my hopes were almost gone by looking at myself and other people’s negative reactions,” Amina said in a recent interview. “I had to let my hopes go — I could not do what I had been planning to accomplish.” …


Patricia Chadwick

Communications and web development specialist at a media development organization.

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