Physically challenged persons decry lack of working tools for appointed colleagues
Urge Abia lawmakers to re-present bill
The Center for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has queried the state government for appointing some persons with disabilities into offices without assigning them accommodation and giving them the necessary working tools.
It urged the Abia State House of Assembly to re-present the Abia State Disabled Welfare Bill, saying although the house passed the bill, the former governor failed to sign it into law as he returned it to the house.
Executive Director of the CCD, David Anyaele, at a press conference in Umuahia stressed the importance of the bill being passed into law saying, “Without such a legal framework to protect citizens with disabilities from state and non-state actors, the quest for poverty reduction and inclusive development will not be achieved.
Anyaele, who canvassed better welfare for persons with disabilities lamented that out of the 36 states of the federation, only seven have disability law in place.
“Efforts to change the situation has met stiff resistance from states-actors as bills passed by the National Assembly to ease the barriers were denied assent by the former presidents,” he said.
He, however, commended the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu for the appointment of three special assistants on disability matters and the ongoing distribution of wheelchairs to some physically challenged persons.
“But a situation where individuals appointed as aides to the governor on disability matters have no office, let alone staff to do their job is an inhuman treatment, a further ridiculing of the physically challenged community.
“Available evidence shows that the appointees lack capacity and capabilities to advise the governor on government programmers and its implications to citizens with disabilities,” he added.
He also decried the state government for its failure to sponsor blind citizens of Abia to the Nigeria Farm Craft Center (NFCC) for rehabilitation, training and integration into the society and appealed for government’s change of attitude in this regard.
Anyaele, who spoke in company of the Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Stanley Onyebuchi and state NUJ Chairman, John Emejor, said the CCD was embarking on a project titled: “Strengthening Persons with Disabilities’ Advocacy Capacity in Nigeria.”
The key objective of the project, he noted, is to create awareness on the barriers to blind persons-with-disabilities participation in government at all levels and urged INEC to consider the plight of persons with disabilities in the on-going voter-registration exercise.