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PWDs task Akwa Ibom government on speedy passage of disability discriminatory bill


Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Akwa Ibom have appealed to the state government to facilitate the passage of the Disability Discriminatory Bill.

The South-South Zonal Coordinator of the Association of Deaf, Comrade Jolly Idehenre, made the appeal yesterday during an awareness programme in Uyo.

He stressed that the deaf and the blind have rights to participate in society on an equal basis.

Idehenre noted that with the state funding for sign language interpreters, the affected people could achieve full participation, equality, independence and self-determination.

He urged the government to extend Language Right to deaf women, whom he observed, do not enjoy equal rights as their male counterparts despite their huge population

His words: “Deaf women represent the majority of the deaf population as the global gender rate indicates that the ratio of women is superior to the men.

“However, deaf women often do not benefit from the same opportunities as their male counterparts to participate in the society and play a meaningful role.

“The national government and all other stakeholders must take measures to ensure the full development, advancement, empowerment and equal participation of deaf women in the society and their communities.”

Also speaking, the state chairman of the association, Comrade Anietie Jackson, urged the government to observe global standards in domesticating the law, adding that it would protect the rights of the deaf and persons with disabilities.

He stated that the organisation was willing to partner with relevant stakeholders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to ensure speedy passage and implementation of the piece of legislation, as it would boost recognition of “sign language as a universal language of the deaf.”

“Our ambition is to partner with all relevant NGOs to ensure the immediate passage and implementation of the Akwa Ibom State Disability Bill,” Jackson added.

Earlier, the Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), David Anyaele, commended the association for organising the event, adding that it was the beginning of a new era for people living with disabilities.

He maintained that, “with the effort of CDD, the Nigeria Disability Act has come to stay, there is no going back on it.”

Anyaele continued: “ We use this medium to call on the Government of Akwa Ibom State, especially the state legislature, to adopt this law and start implementation with full inclusion of the deaf community.
“Permit me to say that this awareness programme is timely, as it concerns over 25 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria.

“It is a re-awakening call for the full inclusion of the deaf and speedy passage of the Akwa Ibom Disability Bill.”

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