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The Legal Framework for Persons Living with HIV and Other Disabilities in Nigeria: An Appraisal

Egondu Grace Ikeatu


Disability is a world-wide phenomenon that has no boundary and cuts across countries, sex, age, religion, race, social status, economic and political positions. Its prevalence and incidence in the contemporary world are high and worrisome. It is estimated that there are more than 2 billion physically challenged people world-wide and majority are from developing countries. The Nigerian National Assembly in 2013 estimated that there are over 20 million people living with disability in the country. However, this number has increased with a wide margin because, according to the Center for Disability and Development Innovations, the approximate number of disabled people in the country is 25 million. The United Nations (UN) projected that in every ten people in Nigeria, one person is suffering from one type of disability or the other. It is also reported that out of every 10 persons with disability in the country, 9 live below the poverty level. Frequent and fatal road accidents that cause serious injuries that lead to stroke, paralysis, and mental illness as well as the continuous threat and suffering from infectious diseases, such as HIV AIDS, meningitis, tuberculosis, small pox, polio, and the emergence and suffering from chronic diseases that include blindness, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes and cancer among others, are responsible for the ever increasing disabilities that millions of Nigerians suffer from. It is evident that, compared to non-disabled persons, people with disability have lesser legal protection and live in extreme poverty and poor health, as well as poor educational achievement and are rarely involved in social, cultural and political participation. This paper will look at the legal framework that protects people living with physical and health disabilities with particular reference to HIV/AIDS and make recommendations among others that there should be a National Commission solely placed with the welfare obligation of disabled persons and people living with HIV.

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print ISSN: 2276-7371