March 11, 2014

Persons living with disabilities send SOS to govt

By Bose Adelaja

PEOPLE living with disabilities have called on government, to include them in its policy, while decrying continuing neglect, especially in the area of welfare and social amenities.
In a press statement, David Anyaele, the Executive Director Centre for Citizens with Disabilities CCD, said a thorough perusal of year 2014 budget, both at state and federal levels, shows that little or nothing has been appropriated for the rehabilitation and integration of Nigerians living with disabilities.

Anyaele urged President Goodluck Jonathan not to toe the line of his predecessors by not placing more value on the lives of Nigerians, especially those living with disabilities but build virile Nigerians for all to live. ‘’We are worried that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has followed the footsteps of his predecessors, especially Chief Olsegun Obasanjo whose administration placed no value on the lives of Nigerians with disabilities.

It was Obasanjo’s government that laid the foundation for the disdainful treatment of Nigerians with disability through refusal to assent to Nigerians with disability bill passed by the National Assembly. It is the continued belief of the political class that places value on the survival of the fittest that exposes Nigerians with disabilities to exclusion, stigma, discrimination, isolation, marginalisation and sometimes to untimely death.

This is because they are usually too weak, poor, voiceless and helpless to confront the government for inclusion of their needs in the appropriation; even when they are appropriated it hardly gets to them,’’ he lamented.

David said it was high time policy makers stopped discriminating against his members by non-inclusion in government programmes and activities. ‘’Federal, state and local governments policy makers should stop stigmatizing, isolating and discriminating against persons with disabilities through non-inclusion in governments programmes and activities,’’ he said.

He urged government to put machinery in motion to curb the nation’s security challenges which has given rise to disabilities in the affected states. ‘’At the same time, over 40 LGAs in the North East zone of Nigeria are in active, armed, violent conflicts as a result of Boko Haram insurgency, leaving death, destruction and disability in their wake for thousands of civilians, including women and children. Disabilities can be prevented through better health care, nutrition, and safe environment,’’ he added.