Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ATCON warns on abuse of Special People’s Law


The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and the Lagos State government may be heading on war-path following the recent piece of legislation on ‘Special People’s Law 2011.’

The Lagos State Legislature also proposed the establishment of the Office of Disability Affairs (ODA) that the law prescribes as the implementation agency, ATCON thus warned against using ODA to extort, abuse and focus only on a particular industry or on a set of employers in the manner of an earlier but very unfair legislation which had to be challenged in court and put in its proper place.

ATCON’s president and general secretary, Messrs Titi Omo-Ettu and David Roberts in that order, in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online expressed the hope that the Office of Disability Affairs, which the Lagos State is about to establish to implement this Law, would be up to good and not turn out to be an exuberant organisation whose attention will only be to make money for the government.

While commending the Lagos State government over the new law, ATCON noted that its attention has been drawn to the State Special People’s Law 2011, which seeks to safeguard people living with disability from all forms of discrimination and equalise their opportunities in all aspects of living in the society.

According to ATCON, the Law provides for protection of the interest of persons who live with disabilities and particularly addresses the issues of protection for them on matters of access, employment, privileges and standard of living, among others.

“ATCON commends the Lagos State Legislature and also the State Executive which, we also understand, is about to establish the Office of Disability Affairs that the Law prescribes as the implementation agency,” they said.

This, they said, is one piece of legislation which is capable of lifting Nigeria out of a so-called third-world classification into one which truly counts among those that have climbed into true civilisation.

“We pledge to support the implementation of the Law in the hope that its operators implement with a human face and in the spirit and letter of its objects and prescriptions,” the ATCON leadership was quoted as saying.

The law, they pointed out, has a bearing to telecom industry in its prescription on access of persons who live with disabilities to telecommunications services which it specifically mentions and indeed access of such persons to all other services which it presents largely as implied. 

ATCON, therefore, drew the attention of all members and other players in the industry, and indeed all employers of labour in the land to this Law and commend it to them for uncomplicated implementation as best as possible in the circumstance.

The association noted that it is important that other State Governments and indeed the Federal Government take a lesson from this law and do the needful to ensure its national embrace and progressive implementation.

ATCON maintained that it certainly cannot continue to ignore the significant contribution which those who live with disabilities are capable of bringing into productivity and national development.

Hence, they prayed that the Office of Disability Affairs which the Lagos State is about to establish to implement this law in good order and not turn out to be an exuberant organization. The group recalled that an earlier but very unfair legislation, of the same Lagos State, was challenged in court.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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