Nigeria's Physically Challenged Persons Lament Exclusion In Governance
The physically challenged persons and destitute in Anambra state have appealed to the state government and its local government officers to put their plights into considerations while mapping-out budgetary allocations and employment.
They cried exclusion in governance participation, employment in the civil service commission and private sectors, discrimination and victimization to them, as well as denial of access to funds and capital for entrepreneurial development.
These was even as the staff and members of Care For The Physically Challenged and Destitute Foundation (CAPCADF), recently paid courtesy visit to Ajalli, the headquarters of Orumba-North local government area, Anambra state to intimate the council of the baseline data of persons with disabilities in the local government area in accordance to its research findings for a smooth championing of their course at the nooks and crannies of the state.
Speaking on the visit, Director of CAPCADF, Mrs. Nwafor Gloria, a-physically challenged person with abundant testimonies, said the foundation is a-Non-Governmental Organization which focused on the empowerment of persons with disabilities and destitute for self-reliance and sustainability, recalling her personal encounter from her family and general public.
According to her, the disables and physically challenged Nigerians often lack adequate attention in terms of education, training and health services, provision of infrastructural facilities, economic opportunities, participation in governance, decision making planning and development projects implementation, thereby prompting majorities to resort to begging of alms in the streets.
She also implored the government to provide them with enabling environment to acquire skills and learning for self-employment and provisions of budgetary allocation or inclusion of interest in developmental projects and promotion of forums for dialogue that will ease their sufferings.
However, she said the NGO chose Orumba-North and Anambra West local government areas on their good governance projects aimed at supporting the mobilization of communities and duty bearers to improve performance and service delivery to the destitute in Nigeria, because the former has high numbers of disabled in the state while the later is among disadvantaged council areas in Anambra state.
Tagged “Promoting Community Accountability Through Participatory Budgeting”, Mrs. Nwafor recalled that the project tour was targeted at getting the government and NGOs to provide capacity support, sharing developmental information, monitoring and evaluation of projects and passing constructive recommendations that will be adopted to ensure a strong budgetary allocation to the persons with disabilities in this governance systems and structures.
Receiving the visual, hearing, physically and mental impaired persons, Chairman of the council, Hon. Okey Enekwe, pledged to liaise with his legislative members and to also take the gospel to the state government with a view to finding best modalities to be adopted in reaching out to them.
Hon. Enekwe, who said that Anambra state government is determined to better the lives of its citizenry, reiterated that his government will never victimize or discriminate any person for whatever reason as it shares the dividends of democracy to the populace, even as he stressed the needs for accurate documentation of their data and addresses for a hitch-free communication with the government and private individuals so as to easily discover and yield to their needs at all times.
Appreciating the visit, the Local Government Area Supervising Councillor for Education and Social Development, Hon. Ogbaji Afam, said they will try all they could to brighten the future of the disabled in the council throughout their various legislative assignment.
Also contributing, Mr. Uche Nnadi who represented the state Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), Mr. Lawrence Nwanolue, commended the former state Governor, Chief Peter Obi for providing them with a-bus among other assistance, even as he congratulated the incumbent, Chief Willie Obiano.
However, Mr. Nnadi, a-Visual Impaired and a graduate of Public Administration, described as injustice and discrimination the act of employing only five physically challenged persons out of 46 that applied for it during the last job recruitment exercise in Anambra state, explaining that most of them who were denied the opportunity are with the prerequisite academic qualifications and experiences apt for the various positions applied.
He therefore, called on Anambra state House of Assembly to expedite action towards passing the bill that would be better their lives into law, as that will assist in addressing their numerous challenges.
In an interview, Miss Chioma Nnaemeka, a Sign Teacher in the Special School For the Deaf and Dumb, Onitsha, advised parents, relatives and all the concerned citizens to support in sponsoring the affected persons in schools for academic learning and skill acquisition purposes as a way of augmenting their needs and restricting them from begging.