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Physically Challenged Persons Decry Suffering, Discrimination in Enugu

Photo: Enugu state Governor , Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

From Ignatius Okpara

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Members of the Enugu state council of Joint National Association of Persons Living with Disabilities, have cried out over what they described as its members alarming structural suffering  and cultural discrimination in the state.

The group, equally noted that the failure of the state government to domesticate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) had denied them quality lives.

Briefing newsmen Wednesday in Enugu, on the non- passage of the Nigerian disability Bill by the nation’s National Assembly NASS, and Enugu state government, Chairman of the association, Mr Gab Nnamani, said that the body had pressed so hard to ensure that the bill was passed in the state but their efforts had been rebuffed.

He hinted that only six states across the federation which included Anambra, Ekiti, Lagos, Nassarawa and two others had domesticated the bill.

“Our deaf colleagues and even the visually impaired are being denied of certain forms of assistance which ordinarily would have made them have quality lives.

“We have pressed so hard for the bill to be passed in the state but it has been the same story with other states,” he said.

Nnamani, therefore, appealed to the state governor to send an executive bill on the matter and prevail on the lawmakers to pass same.

He said that their members were equally serving the National Assembly a notice of imminent face-off for their failure to pass the bill at the centre.

He said that the bill was introduced in the 5th Assembly, adding that it was surprising that up to this point the lawmakers had not found it necessary to pass it.

“We are here to sensitise members of the public on the disability bill that has lingered for 18 years in the National Assembly.

“This disability bill is one of the special legislations the NASS is expected to handle and we wonder if they have anything against us,” he said.

Nnamani said that the association had resolved to mobilise for mass protest if the bill was not given the attention it deserved.

“It is worthy to note that Nigeria being a signatory to the UNCRPD and its operational protocol has no legal framework to mainstream persons living with disabilities into development agenda.

“It has been 18-year long nightmare as the bill has not seen the light of day from the 5th Assembly till date,” he said.

Nnamani said that in spite of the lull in passing the bill, the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari had shown commitment to the plight of persons living with disability.

He said that the president scored an outstanding feat when he appointed one Samuel Ankele as Senior Special Adviser on Disability.

“We are worried that the NASS has failed to place the completion of action on the disability bill as priority.

“Please note that failure to do the needful will result to massive mobilisation of our members for sit-out campaigns at various locations in the major cities of the country,” he stated.



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