As Nigerians joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Disability Day, Persons Living with Disabilities in Ondo State have commended the appointment of one of them as Special Adviser by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
The group who also applauded the moves by the state government to establish a Commission for Persons Living with Disabilities with an assurance to create jobs for 30 of their members in the state.
The convener of the group, Folajogun Akinami, advocated for more employment for Persons Living with Disabilities especially for disabled sports athletes, saying discrimination against them has not abated.
Apart from this, Akinami called for an enabling environment for the physically challenged people just as she called for the full inclusion of the over 30 million Nigerians living with disabilities.
Akinami while speaking on this year’s theme “The Future is Accessible” demanded “inclusive telecast especially for our deaf community. We want subtitled movies and also sign language interpreters for our major bulletins and newspapers.
“We want sign languages introduced as a subject in primary school. So our deaf community can henceforth stop being secluded. This will also help create jobs for members of the deaf community.
“We are tired of our dilapidated special school that do not truly support these children and so we want our special schools upgraded to the level of ‘Mega Schools’.
“We want to change the impression that Persons Living with Disabilities should be beggars on the street or second class citizens at best. Hence we are asking for more employment of persons living with disabilities especially for disability sport athletes.”
The group also appealed to members of the drivers’ union “to stop double charging Persons Living with Disabilities.
“We also want public structures to be disability friendly, especially banks, churches, mosques, schools, government offices etc. or they pay a certain amount of money as fine to the purse of the government.
“We want the government to sponsor short dramas, soap opera, and jingles to properly sensitise the public on how best to relate with Persons Living with Disabilities.”
She explained that the Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association Nigeria (MWFAAN) in collaboration with the Ondo State Agency for the Welfare of Persons Living with Disabilities hosted members of the group in the state.
Some of the events to mark the day include parade, wheelchair race, tennis, powerlifting while Rev. Mrs Funke Adejumo was the guest speaker.