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Amputees decry stigmatisation as UN marks Day of Persons with Disabilities


Amputees in the country have decried their stigmatisation and lack of necessary laws to protect the physically challenged persons. This came as the United Nations marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities yesterday,
The amputees, who attended a forum in Abuja organised by the Umar Nasko Foundation and the Amputees Coalition of Nigeria, lamented Nigerians’ attitude and the government towards physically challenged persons, which they said, fell below global practices.
Chief Executive Officer of the Umar Nasko Foundation, Edet Ime Edet, who said more than 80 per cent of amputees lost their jobs within the first year of being amputated, disclosed that the foundation had concluded plans to address challenges faced by amputees in the country.

He said the foundation would engage amputees through an initiative that would enable the country to manufacture products that would address key needs of physically challenged persons.

Noting that the event was organised to mark the international day for people with disabilities, he said the initiative would enable the country manufacture artificial limbs to assist people with disabilities.
Decrying the high cost of importation of artificial limbs into the country, Edet said the initiative would increase access to limbs for amputees.

“We discovered in the course of research that amputees don’t have voice in Nigeria as it is in other countries so we thought the best is to call amputees together.“Most of the time they are depressed and stigmatised. Indeed, about 80 per cent lose their jobs in the first year they are amputated,” he said.

One of the amputees at the event, Muhammad Dantani, who is also Secretary to the Chief of Physically Challenged Persons, Abuja, said physically challenged persons were being intimidated and stigmatised in public places across the country.

“It is difficult for you to join public buses because people don’t even want to sit close to you. Sometimes, some people drop from buses and Taxi immediately they see you. This should not be. Most of us were not born like this,” he said. For Banigho Rachael, who was amputated in 2009, life has also become tougher, as people focus more on her disability despite her abilities.

She stated that it was difficult for men to believe in her or even propose despite the fact that she was educated and run her own business.Rachael said: “Love is one of the most difficult things you can find when you are amputated. People don’t even want to get close to know what you can do or cannot do.”

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