• Ngozi Chuma Umeh

1. Population indicators

1.1       The total population of Nigeria:

Nigeria's population estimates were 193,392,517 as at 2016.1 Nigeria is planning to conduct population and housing census in 2019, the last was one in 2006. However, as of April 2018, the population of Nigeria was estimated to be 198, 000,000. 2

1.2       The methodology used to obtain the statistical data on the prevalence of disability in Nigeria, and the criteria used to determine who falls within the class of persons with disabilities in Nigeria:

The methodology used to obtain statistical data on the prevalence of disability in Nigeria is through field interviews (National Census) 3. In the National Policy on Special Needs Education and the Guidelines for Implementation 2015, disability was defined to mean persons with physical and sensory impairments including albinism, who because of their condition cannot cope with regular school/class methods and processes without formal Special Needs Educational training. In this category, we have persons with: i. Visual Impairment (total, partial sightedness and low vision). ii. Hearing Impairment (mild, moderate, severe/profound hearing Impairment). iii. Physical and Health Impairment (paraplegia, quadriplegia, seizures, orthotoid, cerebral palsy, etc). iv. Mental Retardation/Intellectual Disability/ 3.0 SPECIAL NEEDS EDUCATION 1) Persons with Disabilities: 12 Intellectual Developmental Disability (educable, trainable, bed ridden). v. Behavioural Disorders (hyperactivity, hypo activity/the socially maladjusted/emotional disorder). vi. Speech Impairment (stammering/stuttering, voice disorders, etc). vii. Learning Disabilities (dyscalculia, dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, visual processing disorder, attention deficit disorders etc). viii. Multiple Impairment (intellectual with visual impairment). ix. Autism Spectrum Disorders. x. Albinism (an inherited genetic condition that affects the production of melanin – the pigment responsible for colouration of skin, eyes and hair). xi. This list is not exhausted 4.

1.3       The total number and percentage of people with disabilities in Nigeria.

In 2018, the total number of people with disabilities in Nigeria according to the Nigeria National Population Commission is estimated at about 19 million and this puts the percentage of people with disabilities at 9.6 per cent approximately. 5 However, the president of the Network for the Advancement of People with Disabilities stated in December 2018, that no fewer than 27.3 million Nigerians are living with various forms of disabilities. 6 With these varying estimates one is not very sure of the extent of disability in Nigeria. Consequently, Nigeria’s National Population is expected to measure and capture disability statistics accurately in the next 2019 population and housing census.

1.5       Total number and percentage of children with disabilities in Nigeria.

According to the National President of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities the total number of children with disabilities in Nigeria is 7 million and the percentage is 36.8 per cent.7

2. International obligations

2.1       The status of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) in Nigeria. The Nigeria position with regard to signing and ratifying of the CRPD and the Optional Protocol is:

Nigeria has signed into law the ‘Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018. 8 She has also signed and ratified both the convention and its optional protocol on 30 March, 2007 and 24 September, 20109 respectively.

2.4       While reporting under various other United Nation’s instruments, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights or African Charter on the Rights and Welfare on the Child, has Nigeria also reported specifically on the rights of persons with disabilities in its most recent reports? If so, have concluding observations adopted by the treaty bodies, addressed disability? If relevant, were these observations given effect to? Was mention made of disability rights in Nigeria’s UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR)? If so, what was the effect of these observations or recommendations?

        Regional instruments

        *African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights

Nigeria’s 6th periodic report10 on the implementation of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights did make reference to the 2016 Bill on Prohibition of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Now Disability Act) as an example of a legislative measure that was initiated to provide social protection to persons with disabilities and safeguards against discrimination that they may suffer from. It establishes a National Commission that will ensure that their rights to education, healthcare and other social and economic rights contained in the 1999 Constitution and other relevant treaties to which Nigeria is a party, are attained.

Concluding observation is not yet available.11

         United Nations instruments

         *Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women

Nigeria in its 7th and 8th periodic reports in 2014 did not report specifically on the rights of persons with disabilities12 .

However, the concluding observations on the combined seventh and eighth periodic reports of Nigeria recommends that Nigeria should intensify its efforts through existing and new innovative programmes that target women with disabilities in order to facilitate their access to health care, education and employment and to combat all forms of discrimination against them.

*UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

During Nigeria’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of 2013, Nigeria accepted over 172 recommendations. The National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Nigeria was introduced in 2006 and it enumerates facts regarding how the Nigerian Government will implement the recommendations it accepts during its UPR. Nigeria UPR was on 6 November 2018.13 During the session, the national report submitted, presents Nigeria National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights covering 2017 to 2022 to include emerging issues like the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities.14 The report further reiterates government efforts regarding disability accommodation and programmes, including the establishment of a disability desk at National Human Rights Commission to address disability issues, working with civil society organisations in the area of disability, training legislators and government officials on the rights of persons with disabilities, and the employment of a handful of persons with disabilities. 15 However, despite these laudable goals and achievements, very little progress has been made in achieving inclusive equality for person with disabilities in Nigeria to be fully.

4. Legislation

4.1       Does Nigeria have legislation that directly addresses disability? If so, list the legislation and explain how the legislation addresses disability.

Nigeria has legislation that directly addresses disability at the national level and it is titled -‘Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.16 The Act sought to capture the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. For instance, the definition of disability under the Act reflects the social model of disability approach. Amongst other provisions, the Act expects the Nigerian government to make provisions for the promotion of awareness regarding the rights, respect, dignity, capabilities, and achievements of persons with disabilities. The use of persons with disabilities in soliciting for alms is prohibited and any contravention is stipulated to be a criminal offence that is punishable with the payme t of fine or imprisonment.17   The Act also provides for the right to free education without discrimination or segregation for persons with disabilities to secondary school level, and makes it the responsibility of a proposed National Commission (to be established under the Act) to provide assistive learning devices.18 The Act also provides for the inclusiveness of education which would be accessible to persons with disabilities in all schools and the obligation to provide trained personnel and facilities for the educational development of persons with disabilities.19

At a glance, the provisions of the Act could be described as having the huge potential for promoting and protecting persons with disabilities in Nigeria and could measure up to international standards to some extent.  However, the Bill did not make reference to compulsory education that will be immediately realisable as well as early child education or lifelong learning for children with disabilities. This is a bit problematic as realising the right to inclusive education demands that compulsory education, early child learning and lifelong learning ought to be legally protected.

It is also necessary to enquire, whether it is advisable to leave the responsibility of managing and superintending over the affairs of the national commission, and the provision of assistive devices for the governing council established for the National Commission as provided under the Act, in view of other functions it is expected to perform under the Act and considering its composition.20 This is considered necessary in view of the deep-rooted systemic mismanagement of public resources in Nigeria that is embedded in political alliances and focuses upon inputs as against impact. It is unlikely that within such an environment, the National Commission would effectively facilitate and promote the procurement of assistive devices and individualised support for all persons with disabilities without discrimination.

It is also thought that National Commission as constituted by the present Act is not cost effective. It is believed that the Commission might turn out like the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development which has been the lead government department handling disability issues in Nigeria. The Ministry’s approach to disability is based on the charity model of disability where demand for assistive devices is usually met by massaging the ego of the official in charge of distributing these devices.21

However, it is worthy of note that some states in Nigeria have been able to pass legislation that address disability. they include i) Plateau State Disability Rights Commission Law 2005, ii) Lagos State Special People’s Law 2011, iii) Jigawa State Persons with Disabilities Law 2017, iv) Bauchi State Persons with Disabilities Law 2015, v) Kano State Persons Living With Disabilities Law 2018- vi)  Ogun State 2018.     
The listed state legislation on disability emphasises the non-discrimination of person with disabilities and the need to make schools, health care and buildings accessible.  The different state legislation also makes provision for a disability fund, which shall be administered by a board or commission as established by the state government and to which individuals, corporate bodies and government may make contributions. As stated in the law, the purpose of the disability fund is to advance the cause of persons living with disabilities in the states


1 National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria; 2017 demographic statistic released on Tuesday, June 6, 2018.

2. Statement released by the Chairman of Nigeria National Population Commission, Eze Duruiheoma, SAN, (assessed 12 December, 2018)

3.FM Kolawole ‘Measurement of disability through sample surveys: Nigeria experiences of the National Bureau of Statistics’ paper presented at the United Nations Regional Meeting on Disability Measurement and Statistics in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2020 World Population and Housing Census Programme for Africa Kampala, Uganda, 15-17 November 2016; Interview with surveyor Chibuzo Nwogwu U. former State Director National Population Commission, Imo State Nigeria.

4.Nigeria National Policy on Special Needs Education and the Guidelines for Implementation 2015

5.Stated by Eze Duruiheoma (SAN) Chairman of Nigeria National Population of Nigeria (NPC) at the 73rd UN General Assembly General Discussion of Agenda 28 on social development at the UN headquarters, New York..

6.Available at accessed 3/12/2018.

7.The President, Ekaete Umoh was at the media launch of the Baseline Survey Conducted in Akaw-Ibom, Kwara  states and the Federal Capital Territory as part of the project on Advocacy for Inclusive and Accessible Universal Basic Education for Children with Disabilties in Nigeria by USAID.

8.On January 23 2019, Nigeria’s President signed into law the Disability Act.

9. Consolidated  findings from the 2010 United States State Department Country Reports on human  rights practices (assessed 15 April, 2013); (accessed 15 April 2013), E-mail from Prof. Obiaraeri Nnamdi, Sub Dean of law in  Imo  State University Owerri on 19, April 2013.

10.Available report_6th_2015_2016_eng.pdf and submitted to the African Commission on 9 May 2018 (accessed 24 December 2018).

11.Available at (accessed 24 December 2018).

12. See UN Committee on the Elimination of Discriminnation Against Women (CEDAW) Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention, Seventh and eighth periodic reports of States parties due in 2014 : Nigeria,11 January 2016, CEDAW/C/NGA/7-8 a, available at (accessed 27 December, 2018).

14. A/HRC/WG.6/31/NGA/1National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 5 of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 16/21: Nigeria, para 29 (a).

15. Ibid, para 95.

16.  n 8 above.

17. Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 para 16

18. Discrmination Act above, para 17.

19. Discrmination Act above, para 18.

20. The Act in para 37 itemised about 18 major functions to be carried out by the Commission through a Governing Council established under para 32, to be made up of members that will be appointed based on political affiliations. 

 21.R Lang & L Upah ‘Scooping study: Disability issues in Nigeria’ 6. .  (accessed 19 December 2018).