Akabueze, others seek end to discrimination against physically challenged
A Pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, The King’s Court, Victoria Island, Lagos, Ben Akabueze has called on stakeholders to collaborate in curbing obstacles, injustices and discrimination, that the physically challenged persons go through in their daily lives. He made the appeal recently while launching the disability inclusion event tagged, “Diversity Sunday” at the RCCG King’s Court in Lagos.
The cleric urged Nigerians to show compassion to the physically challenged by promoting inclusion for this set of people, saying that government cannot do everything.
According to him, “Since we have over 27 million people living with disabilities in Nigeria, governments at all levels have a lot to do to cater for them, but in our own spaces and environments, we should start to do some things for them, not waiting for government.”
Akabueze said the physically challenged are richly endowed with great potential such as skills, talents and gifts of God and should not be discriminated against because they are also children of God.
The Chief Executive Officer and founder, Albino Association of Nigeria and special guest, Jake Epelle, who recalled his negative experiences as an albino, said the physically challenged are always faced with discrimination, self-education, isolation, abuses, domestic accident, hurtful jests from school mates and society.
He canvassed a better understanding of how to relate with this group of people, first as human beings created by God instead of discrimination.
Also in his contribution, Head of Protocol, Pastor Dapo Fesayo, observed that most Nigerians are so engrossed with life challenges such as families, finance and oftentimes they forget about the physically challenged around them and outside the church.
Urging governments at all levels to do more for these people and not to pay lip service, Fesayo specifically, called on the Federal Government and Niger Delta states governments to build special schools such as vocational centres for the physically challenged.
He said: “As an indigene from the Niger Delta region, blessed with oil but there are no special schools for the blind, nor for the deaf, even vocational training for people with disabilities. Sadly, most of the people with disabilities are languishing and unproductive in that region.”
Some of the physically challenged who spoke at the event included comedian and radio presenter, Kelly Blind and Creative Director, African Craft Shop Nigeria, Adebayo Muritala David. They called on governments at all levels to give scholarships to children of the physically challenged and empower others with vocational skills according to their interests.
At the event were Wesley Schools of the Hearing l and II, Federal Nigeria Society of the Blind, Bethesda Home for the Blind and African Craft Shop Nigeria. They displayed different crafts from handmade slippers, sandals, beaded bag, key-holders, soaps, hand sanitisers, batik/tie and dye-designed clothes, among others.