ANSDRC Celebrates One Year Anniversary

…Honours Distinguished Members, Others

By Mmaduabuchi Onwumelu

Anambra State Disability Rights Commission (ANSDRC) recently marked its One Year Anniversary, with the group, during the celebration, honouring and recognizing six disability sports medalists and also presenting certificates to about twelve members trained in Information and Communication Technologies.

Addressing the gathering at the event held at the Commission’s Headquarters, Awka, the Chairman of Anambra State Disability Rights Commission (ANSDRC), Barr. Chukwuka Ezewuzie, said the medalists made the Commission and Anambra State proud by distinguishing themselves in special sports nationally and internationally.

They are; Ms Esther Nwadika, who had won five medals, including silver and bronze at the national festival in Javelin, shot put and discus (2022); Mr Celestine Ezeabikwa, who won bronze in weight lifting in 2018; and Ms Nwachukwu Nneamaka, who won bronze in table tennis at the 2022 National Sports Festival.

Others are Mr Okwuchukwu Ugwumadu, who got bronze in table tennis in 2020; Ms Iyiazi Njideka, gold medalist in Javelin, shot put and discus in an international sports event in 2022; and Ms Nkolika Nwakile, who earned bronze in badminton in 2022.

Ezewuzie also enumerated some achievements of the Commission in the past one year to include capacity building and staff development through Information Communication Technologies; inculcation of the spirit of volunteering, promotion of special sports, eye and skin care training for people with albinism, and donation of mobility training for the visually impaired; and provision of deaf community services to state official events.

The Commission, it will be recalled, was constituted on December 3, 2021, by former Governor Willie Obiano, who further appointed ten members, with Barrister Chukwuka Ezewuzie as chairman, on February 1, 2022. The Commission which was among the provisions of the Anambra State Disability Rights Law (2018), passed and signed by Governor Obiano on December 18, 2018, currently comprises eight departments, 10 commissioners, 16 staff of civil servants, including an accountant and six volunteers.

He specially recognised Miss Vivian Ezeonwumelu, who is currently in the United States of America, having won an award from Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The Commission also presented certificates to about twelve members of the disability community who recently acquired information and communication skills, including their information officer, Miss Chidimma Ajemba, and urged them to explore and impact the world.

‘The Commission plans to take steps to enforce the accessibility requirements of the Disability Rights Law on public and private structural facilities, parking lots, building plans and permits. The Commission will vigorously pursue processes to harness the revenue windows provided for in the Disability Rights Law to support the government and persons with disabilities. The Commission will embark on fact-finding tours to special schools and rehabilitation centres in the state to ascertain the truth about the often reported sorry state of affairs in these centres,’ Ezewuzie added.

Also speaking, the Principal Secretary to former Governor Obiano, Sir Willie Nwokoye, encouraged the disability community to maximize their abilities and skills to become sufficient and employers of labour.

For her part, the former Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa, Mrs Uche Ajuluchukwu, called for the employment of computer literate members of the community in ICT, data and record management units, even as he urged Governor Chukwuma Soludo to release funds to ANSDRC for optimal function of the commission.

According to her, it was painful that the governor never budgeted or disbursed funds to the ASDRC since inception of his administration despite their contributions to his election in 2021 and capacities to help engender good governance and development of Anambra State.

‘I am calling on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to show a sense of inclusion in this administration and policy of continuity. It is good that his predecessor (Obiano) made Anambra State proud by domesticating the Disability Rights Law which is in the United Nations charter. He should remember that we voted for him. It is not good that he abandoned them because no one knows tomorrow.

‘It is not fair that no single Naira was budgeted or released to the Commission since Governor Soludo took over. Why did Anambra State House of Assembly pass the 2023 Budget without including provisions for funding of the State Disability Rights Commission? I am reminding them and Mr Governor to do something about the PWDs and ANSDRC now in case they forgot.

‘Our members are focused in what they are doing. They are people you can trust. The PWDs who have undergone computer training should be recruited as computer and data officers. They are people that cannot be bribed to alter data once it is genuinely computed. They stand for the truth,’ she added.

Responding, the Commissioner for Women’s Affairs and Social Development, Hon Ify Obinabo, noted that the ministry and state were ready to work and ensure that the rights of the disability community were protected, adding that more of them would be trained and empowered accordingly.