The Joint National Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD), Anambra Chapter, has urged the state Assembly to strengthen legislation for inclusiveness and easy access to education for persons with disabilities.
Mr Ugochukwu Okeke, state Chairman, JONAPWD, made the call during an advocacy visit to the office of Mr Ejike Okechukwu, Chairman, House Committee on Education, on Friday in Awka.
The advocacy visit is a part of the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Okeke said there was the need for legislation to strengthen areas of the Disability Rights Law 2018 that promote education for persons with disabilities in the state.
He said that such legislation would make educational institutions adopt disability-friendly policies, by providing the infrastructure and technologies persons with disabilities require to study with others.
He lamented that many of the institutions in the state were lacking in accessibility for persons with disabilities.
“We are advocating for a barrier free environment and a disability-friendly public and private institutions with recognition to individuals who are bringing or using assistive devices.
“The provision of ramps, adaption of toilets for wheelchair users, braille signages, auditory signals and tactile flooring to persons with disabilities will ensure better accessibility.
“We are also advocating that these institutions set up plans and programmes to accommodate persons with disabilities to study with their peers who are not with disabilities,” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Onyekachi Ololo, Programme Officer, SCALE project, identified policy gaps, inadequate funding and budget releases, as factors hindering the full implementation of the Disability Rights Law in the state.
Ololo urged the legislature to make legislation to get the executive to prioritise the law, as well as ensure that all persons with disabilities were given their place of pride in their pursuit of education.
Responding, Mr Okechukwu, the Legislator representing Anaocha Constituency ll, said that the inclusive education campaign was a welcome development.
He promised to sponsor a Bill on Inclusive Education in Anambra and requested for a position paper from the different clusters of JONAPWD.