By Chioma Ndife
The Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) and Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPD) Anambra State Chapter has lauded Anambra State House of Assembly for passage of the Disability Right Bill aimed at advancing the rights and welfare of people living with disabilities in the state.
The duo praised the efforts of the House of Assembly members that led to the passage of the bill at a Town Hall Meeting organized by Justice Development Peace Caritas, JDPC, Awka for the Community and Legislative Members Interactive Platform (CLIP) Project. They implored on the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano to append his signature to the document in order to make it a working document.
Barrister Uche Nnadi, representing Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities,
JONAPD, Anambra State Chapter revealed that the passage of the bill would help the State Government to articulate the problems of those living with disability in a bid to draft out parameters to be used in proffering long lasting solution to the identified issues.
Nnadi who is the Chairman of Nigerian Blind Association, Anambra State Chapter noted that before the passage of the bill, persons with disabilities were being taken care of by the Ministry of Women Affairs. He however said that with the passage of the bill, the government would be dealing directly with persons with disability.
He added that given that the ministry would be run by persons with disability, it would be run more efficiently and effectively, as it would have a full understanding of the pains of those with one form of deformity or the other.
He argued that the ministry if created would offer more persons with disability employment opportunity, noting that everything about the educational needs of those with disability would be met with the application of the bill.
In his words ‘the needs of people living with disability will be factored in when public structures are being erected. We are hopeful that our governor who is disable friendly governor will assent to it given that he had promised that he will give us a commission to be known as Disability Service Commission’.
The purpose of the bill was to articulate all the challenges of persons living with disability starting from educational need, health, accessing of public buildings, unemployment challenges faced in the society and economic issues negatively affecting those with disability would be factored in by the bill’ he stated.
He disclosed that those with disability in some aspect of the society are being marginalized, shortchanged and not carried along, saying that the Disability Right Bill would address the perceived marginalization currently on-going in the society. He revealed that the group has been demanding for a Disability Service Commission to be given to them, as such commission would see to everything affecting those with disability.
He expressed optimism that the state governor in no istant time would sign the bill, saying that the governor, had previously promised the group a commission but was handicapped because the legislative arm of the government were yet to pass the bill into law.
Also Speaking, JONAPD, Former Publicity Secretary, Joy Okoro-Mmaduka appreciated the Convener of the meeting, Samuel Onyeka Ololo, JDPC project officer for his resilience and humility during the course of engaging lawmakers to see to the adoption of the Disability Act. She disclosed the various difficulties encountered by the group at the House of Assembly when they were still advocating for its passage.
On her part, the financial secretary of JONAPD, Anambra State Chapter, Necheta Nwanokwara, said that the group would attain a level of independence with the creation of the disability commission. She maintained that the various promises made by the government which had not been implemented would be carried out especially the scholarship programmes.