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Stakeholders decry stigmatisation of people with disabilities

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Director, Inclusive Education and Individualised Education Plan (IEIEPC), a rights advocate for persons with disabilities, Mr. Oyeyinka Oluwawumi, has expressed concerns over the attitude of some Nigerians towards persons living with a disability.

The group, which marked this year’s international day of people with disabilities (IDPWD) with a visit to the Modupe Cole Memorial Child Care and Treatment Home in Lagos, is a non-profit organisation that is devoted to advocacy and enlightenment campaign for inclusion.

The UN-backed International Day of people with disabilities (IDPWD), which started as the United Nations decade of disabled persons in 1983 and later became the International Day of disabled persons in 1992, is held yearly on December 3 to celebrate people with disabilities, promote public awareness and draw the commitment of governments and organisations to implementing measures to improve the life of disabled persons all over the world.

The 2019 event themed, “The future is accessible,” focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

Oluwawumi while speaking at the event stated that the IDPWD is convinced that disability is not a feature of a person, but rather that all people have different health impairments at some time in their lives. He wondered why society is unfriendly to such persons.

“IDPWD exists to make sure that environmental and social barriers are identified, and to help everyone to work together to overcome them. There are some that most of the time their health impairment does not stop them from functioning, being included or participating in their communities; there are others that are affected by such. We will never eradicate health impairment but by overcoming barriers, then we eradicate disablement”, he said.

He commended the Nigerian government for setting the tone for this future with the signing into law the discrimination against persons with disabilities (Prohibition) act.

Director of Modupe Cole Memorial Child Care and Treatment Home, Mrs. Sherifat Rabiu faulted the stigmatisation of persons with disabilities by members of the society “who rather should show love and understanding”.

“Stigmatisation of these people is still very rife in society and it is rather unfortunate development. It is painful to see that after we have laboured for years over these persons, deploying so many resources, the same society refuses to accept and integrate them as her respected and valuable members. Stigmatisation is a very big concern that we all must address,” she said.


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