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Groups want Jonathan to sign Disability Bill


AN amalgamation of groups for the disabled comprising the Lagos State Association of the Deaf (LSAD), Nigeria Deaf Teachers Association (NADETA) and Nigerian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to give assent to the Nigerian Disability Bill, which has been forwarded by the National Assembly nearly six years ago. 

   At a press conference held in Lagos at the weekend, the group stated that President Jonathan has refused to sign the bill into law, which would enhance the welfare of over 22 million persons in the country living with various disabilities. 

   Speaking at the event, Executive Secretary of the Deaf Voices Coalition, Mr. Adewale Adeyaju, claimed that about nine million people, who are deaf in the country voted for Jonathan in 2011 and their joint numerical strength in demography and statistics would be helpful in the reelection bid of the president in the coming election.

   “Nigeria presently has over 22 million of persons living with various disabilities and out of this number, a significant proportion of nine million are deaf persons. To this end, our numerical strength in demography and statistics, if applied during voting exercise is huge. 

   “We voted for the president in 2011 because we are expecting good life and that through your transformation agenda, we will witness unprecedented growth. We, however, at this period request the president to urgently accent to the Nigerian Disability Bill in fulfillment of his promise to transform our lives and he can be assured we will do better than 2011 by voting massively for him,” Adeyanju said.

   The President of Deaf Women in Nigeria, Deaconess Adedoyin Abeyioku, said: “We don’t have any other country to call our own. It doesn’t matter whether we are deaf or not, Nigeria belongs to all and we belong here. 

   “Election is around the corner and this is the only time those seeking elective posts have a listening ear and make promises. This is the time our deaf voices should be heard. We have waited too long, over 10 years now, for this bill to be passed into law.”


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