By Chinenyeh Ozor
AN amputee pastor, Rev. Jude Uchechukwu of the World Liberation Assembly has proved that there is ability in disability even as he played host to about 50 physically challenged persons in the university town of Nsukka, Enugu State. He opined that the physical challenged persons should not hong on begging at motor parks or the streets.
Rev. Jude made the assertion during the assemblage of physically challenged persons in Nsukka organised by the World Liberation Assembly (aka House of Liberty), explaining that the society should as a matter of necessity see and treat the disabled persons as equal human beings who could be offered good jobs irrespective of their disability, acquire skills in hair dressing, shoe making, soap and beads – making among others to eke out a means of livelihood than begging for alms at motor parks and streets of the country.
He disclosed that over 400 physical challlenged persons in Nsukka registered with the centre for disabled persons committee (CDPC), Nsukka, adding that the number would be higher if all the physically challenged persons in Enugu north senatorial zone registers with the centre.
“I feel bad when I see physical challenged persons begging at motor parks and streets. Disability is of the mind as they can blaze the trail and fix up in a menial business that would not require huge capital,” he said.
He noted that the aim of gathering together the physical challenged was to interact with them to know which skill some of them could be engaged in to drive a means of livelihood than begging, adding that the World Liberation Assembly has concluded plans to set up skill acquisition centres where the physically challenged would learn skills to improve their living conditions.
Help from government agencies
He pointed out that the church was soliciting help from government agencies, corporate bodies, philantropists, the international donor agencies, fianance institutions, tertiary institutions across the globe for scholarsihips among others.
Rev. Jude explained that that the centre for disabled persons has written to Enugu State governor Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi on the pitiable conditions of physical challenged persons in Nsukka, pointing out that all the disabled persons in Nsukka trooped out en masse at the civic reception organised by Ihe/Owerre community in honour of the governor.
“We marched on clutches, impaired ones limped, some crawled to have a hand shake with the governor who in turn promised to look into their situations soon,” he explained, and urged the general public to stop seeing disabled persons as helpless beggars and that they should stop giving them N5, N10 and N20 at motor parks.
He said there is work of charity which could be by empowerment or donating to orphange homes. “Some of the physical challenged persons in Nsukka alone are graduates, yet unemployed even when such a person has the prerequisite qualification for a job,” he said.
The amputee pastor also said that World Liberation Assembly in conjunction wth the Centre for Disabled Persons Committee (CDPC) Nsukka would need at least N20m to set up skill acquisition centre for the physical challenged persons in Nsukka.
He said that lack of funds to start a trade often times compel some of the physically challenged to go into begging in order to eat and stay alive. He explained that the Federal Government has never in any project in the country made the physical challenged persons to feel part of the nation.
Some of the physically challenged persons who spoke with South East voice included Paul Ozoemene who made second upper division in Social Works from University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He was recommended for employment by the medical board of the University where he served as a copper and the faculty he graduated in 2012 but the unversity administration could not effect the recommendation till date.
Eze Onyebuchi studied Archeology and Tourism, currently a post graduate student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka but has no job since graduating. Sunday Eze, a cripple who finished apprenticeship as a cobbler has no means to start the trade.
Prominent among the physical challenged persons was a cripple, Ejike Onah a welder who constructed a tricyle machine he uses for himself with about 14 apprentices under him. He has a workshop in Nsukka, constructs iron gates, petrol under ground tanks but lacks funds to expand the business.
Heighlights of occasion included a melodious gospel song and dance of the physically challenged of both the cripples, lame and blind.