Persons with disabilities seek enactment of disability law in Edo

Persons with disabilities under the umbrella of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), on Thursday, urged the Edo State Government to domesticate the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.

The physically challenged people submitted that the bill, when passed and eventually assented to, would eliminate discrimination, provide the right to healthcare, education, and allow full integration of persons with disabilities into the society.

The association made the call at a rally in Benin City to commemorate this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities set aside every December 3 by the United Nations.

Chairperson of the group, Ann Ojuigo, said this year’s theme, “Leadership and participation of persons with Disabilities Towards an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post-COVID-19 World,” reechoed the calls for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in governance and other aspects of life.

Ojuigo, who lamented that persons with disabilities were stigmatised, abandoned and left to rot away in communities across the country, said disability is a global issue and shouldn’t be treated lightly.

According to her, “we have had issues of disability bill in Edo State. We are here to call on Edo State to emulate its counterparts like Lagos, Plateau and many others. We are reiterating that the bill should become a law so we can have an enabling environment to make us comfortable.

“We are all persons with disabilities and we have several clusters that make up our association namely physical disabilities, hearing impairments, leprosy, visually impairment, albino foundation, and women and children with disabilities,” Ojuigo said.

The chairperson, while commending the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government for the support and recognition, pleaded that it should be evenly distributed to other persons with disabilities.

“In Edo State, we have so many persons with disabilities and some of us are doing well in our various areas of life, but we still have some persons who yet to be reintegrated into the society due to poverty, lack of education, limited access to basic amenities among others,” she said.

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