Thanks to Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria for providing this information.

The current situation

In Nigeria, sadly, people with Down syndrome are generally not recognised as persons before the law and therefore their legal capacity can be removed just because they have Down syndrome.

There is no provision in the Nigerian legal system for substituted decision-making on behalf of persons with Down syndrome.

There is no system in place for supported decision-making in Nigeria.

People with Down syndrome and their families are completely powerless in demanding their rights.

An example of this: A young girl with Down syndrome was sexually abused. The family reported the incident at the local police station. The officer in charge told the family not to waste their time pursuing the case as the victim was 'an imbecile' and, therefore there was no existing law protecting her rights.

What we are doing.

Using money.

DSFN collaborated with some parents to train young adults with Down syndrome to open and operate a bank account . We also trained some nominated bank staff on how to make reasonable accommodations for people with intellectual disabilities when they come in for any bank transaction. The exercise has been quite successful as most of our young adults can now fill out bank tellers and use ATM machines with minimal assistance. We are presently replicating the exercise in other cities.


In the past, persons with Down syndrome were not allowed to have voters cards as they were considered incapable of making informed decisions. About eight years ago, DSFN took the case up with the Electoral Commission and after interviewing some of the young adults, the officials were convinced our young adults were capable of making their own choice. For the first time ever, our young adults were finally allowed to register and obtain their voters cards. History was made seven years ago when they all proudly lined up with others, for the first time, to cast their votes for their preferred candidates.

Take action.

Contact Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria to support this campaign in your country.