Discriminating against PWDs is terrible
By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar
Philanthropist and businessman, Engr Ben Akak has asserted that tagging old people witches and wizards is a terrible, shameful and barbaric practice that must be stopped.
Akak made the assertion while donating items through his foundation (Ben Akak Foundation) to the aged and physically challenged persons at St. John Paul Home of the Aged as well as to physically challenged in Calabar as part of activities to mark Nigeria’s democracy day.
Engr. Akak who had donated palliatives to communities, organisations, religious bodies, government, traditional rulers also reached out to the aged decried the practice of tagging old people witches and wizards and discrimination against persons living with a disability.
His words: “The tagging of old people as witches and wizards as well as the discrimination against people living with a disability is a shame and undignifying and must be stopped in our society and the country at large
“Oftentimes, people don’t recognise the old people because the moment you grow old, they think you are a witch. The moment you have one deficiency or one deformity, they feel there is something wrong with you.
“People don’t naturally come to you; they expect you to come to them but as for us, we are coming to you because you are important and we love you. We decided to come today to see you.
“As you know, June 12, Nigeria’s Democracy Day is a day sacrifices were made and because of that enormous sacrifice, we have decided to share with you.
“The enormous sacrifices made by Chief MKO Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election and what he stood for propelled us to sacrifice the little we have with you and humanity.
“We know at this point, you need people with the spirit of sacrifice. Often times, people don’t take you very important but you’re very important. Our foundation loves you and shares in your pains especially at this difficult time and we’ll be with you always.
“We are aware of the difficulties you face due to the lockdown. Most of you lost your means of livelihood but don’t despair as tomorrow will be better,” he said.
Receiving the items, the Coordinator of Persons Living with Disabilities, Comr. Offiong Okon,. thanked Engr. Akak for remembering them at this difficult time.
He appealed to the foundation to join other foundations and groups to call on the government to establish a national commission for disabilities.