News

December 6, 2022

World Disability Day: We need empowerment not sympathy, PLWDs

—Call for implementation of Disability Bill

-As NAS hosts them in Abuja

By Johnbisco Agbakwuru, Abuja

As Nigeria joins the global community to commemorate this year’s International Disability Day, People Living With Disabilities, PLWDs have said that what they need is empowerment and not public sympathy.

The Joint National Association of persons with Disabilities FCT Chapter, also called on the Federal Government to fully implement the Disabilities Discrimination Prohibition Act passed by the National Assembly.

This is as the National Association of Seadogs, NAS, Pyrates Confraternity on Saturday hosted the Abuja branch of PLWDs.

The leadership of the FCT Chapter of PLWDs in an interactive session organised by NAS, Abuja Chapter in Kubwa, frowned at the continued discrimination and stigmatization of their members asking government to always involve them in its economic and developmental plans.

Speaking at the interactive session, the FCT Chairman of people with disability, Abubakar Abduljeleel said what they need was empathy and not sympathy, adding that with empowerment, they would be able to contribute to the development of the country.

He said, “We have been neglected for a long period of time but with the efforts of the NGOs and the international community, we feel the sense of belonging. We need NAS and the NGOs to help in the implementation of the Disability law in various government agencies and departments.”

Speaking on the allotted five percent allocation in employment in both public and private sectors, the group said government should ensure full implementation of the percentage and also involve their members in vocational training that will make them independent.

Abduljaleed said, “We need NAS and the NGOs to help us to ensure that the five percent given to us for employment get to us. PLWDs are not being carried along in government policies. Out of the six Council Chairmen in Abuja, three have appointed our members as Special Advisers.

“We need an executive office so that we can carry our people along. Some people look at people with one form of disability or the other as nobody. We are very happy that God has sent NAS to feel our condition and have us in their mind.

“There are marginalisation going on, the society condemns everything about those with disability. We may be disabled physically but agile spiritually. We want NAS to help us reach the well to do in the society to help in empowerment programs. Scholarship opportunities will reduce the level of harassment we face. We don’t want sympathy, what we want is empathy.”

They also expressed the need for their members to love themselves to defeat stigmatization from the outside world.

Other members of the association who spoke at the event advocated for executive positions for their members, accessibility into public premises and empowerment as many of their members they said have already been trained in many vocations.

Speaking on their resolve towards improving the lots of the persons living with disabilities, the Publicity Secretary of the Abuja2 Chapter of NAS, Barrister Charles Ndukwe, flanked by the coordinator of the interactive session, Augustine Ukaegbu, said the essence of the interaction was to remind government of their primary responsibilities towards those with disabilities.

He said that it was part of its Corporate Social Responsibilities and humanistic ideals to carter for the less privileged in the society.

He said, “You are part of the nation and part of the international community. You should not be discouraged in whatever condition you find yourselves.”

Ndukwe, however assured the PLWDs that the Pyrates Confraternity will work to ensure that whatever belongs to them reaches them.

PLWDs members, who attended the event from the six local government councils of the FCT were treated to lunch with sumptuous meals by NAS as well as cash donation to each and every one of them in attendance.