By Emmanuel Elebeke
Down Syndrome Association of Nigeria has urged the National Assembly to expedite action in passing the disability bill currently waiting to pass through the third reading in the Senate.
The group said such passage had become necessary due to the important role it will play in saving the victims from the humiliation and inhuman treatment being meted on them by the society.
The National President of the association, Rose Mordi who made the position known to the press at the 3rd annual special inter-house sports competition organized for Down Syndrome children in Lagos commended the legislatures for their efforts so far, but said DSAN will leave no stone untuned in seeing that the law makers are prevailed upon to pass the bill into law, to enable them save more lives and families, which are currently being lost due to the indiscriminate practices against those born with deformities.
According to her, the event was put together to create more awareness and integrate the children born with down syndrome with the rest of the society.
â€œAs a support group, we have been able to save lots of lives, train them. What we are doing todayÂ is part of our integrated programme. A lot have been abandoned, but through our aggressive awareness creation, lots of lives have been saved,â€ she stated.
Mordi who blamed the problem of those with deformity in the society to misconception and negative attitude of the society said society is a big challenge that must be tackled, if the campaign against discrimination of those with deformity mustÂ be successful.
To her, the ability of the society to put legal structures on ground and integrate the children into the society and rehabilitate them adequately must be reviewed to reposition Nigeria among other nations that respect and uphold the sanctity of human rights.
She regretted that of the 65 per cent of children born with deformities in the country, majority of them are left unattended to and abandonedÂ due to the nonchalant attitude of the society, pointing out that the ignorance had been there for so long, which will require time to be corrected.
The DSAN president who solicitedÂ for support from well meaning Nigerians and corporate organizations cleared
the doubts about the ability of down syndrome children to attendÂ university education.
â€œA lot of them are very good in art work, even more than normal children. It is possible for them to go to
university. I have seen two with Phds in United State. They need to be empowered to be financially independent,â€ she posited.
In his presentation, a sponsor and Chief Executive Officer of VT Leasing Limited, Akin Opeodu, while commending DSAN for its efforts said â€œwe have no choice than to support these children neglected and abandoned by the society. We canâ€™t continue to wait for government to come and do everything before we can show sympathy to them in our little way.â€