By Rotimi Ojomoyela— Ado-Ekiti
Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, has called on the Federal Government to consider the creation of a special ministry to cater for the well-being of the physically-challenged citizens.
Describing them as the most neglected in Nigeria, Bamidele said effort should be made to explore the latent talent deposited in them for the benefit of all.
Bamidele, who represents Ekiti Central in the National Assembly, said this in Ado-Ekiti, on Monday, during an empowerment programme he organised for 500 physically-challenged, women and youths in his constituency.
The beneficiaries, who received a weeklong training and empowered with cash, sewing machines, hairdryer and exposed to business and entrepreneurial opportunities, were drawn from Ado, Efon, Ijero, Ekiti West and Irepodun/Ifelodun local government areas that constitute the senatorial district.
Bamidele stated that his “Bringing out Abilities in Disabilities” programme for the deaf, dumb, blind, albinos and cripples, was conceptualised to make lives better for those in this category in terms of economic independence.
His words: “In Nigeria, those in this category are the most neglected. They are being downgraded, neglected and despised in terms of job opportunities, political appointments and other considerations.
“Not until the recent time, the government has no special policy favouring them. They are not being considered for political positions and even favourable education policy was not there to give them a sense of belonging.
“Another area that had added more to their sufferings was the fact that some of them had resigned to fate.
“They had this warped and twisted impression that being physically-challenged has crippled their destiny. This was wrong and we have to encourage you to rise above this pedestrian thinking.
“We are hopeful that now that your issues are being taken care of in terms of the electoral system, appointments, employments and others, your sufferings will get alleviated gradually.
“But it would still be apposite and go a long way to make you more relevant and useful to our dear nation if the governments can establish a special ministry to cater for your needs.
“If we can have Ministry of Youth and Ministry of Women Affairs, it is not implausible for the federal government to create this ministry to have special and dedicated focus on the wellbeing of the physically-challenged citizens.”
Appraising the impact of the empowerment on members, Chairman, Joint National Association of People’s Living With Disabilities (JONAPID), Mr. Kayode Owolabi, disclosed that it would help tremendously in alleviating the pervasive poverty among their ranks.