The Chairman, House Committee on Disability at the Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Marian Onuoha, has said lack of awareness about disability issues is responsible for the gross discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, noting that there’s a need to share conversations around discrimination and exclusion of PWDs without which the society might not know the right thing to do.
Speaking to journalists at a 2-day disability inclusion retreat organized by Sightsavers in Owerri, Honourable Onuoha said, “if we don’t talk about issues around discrimination and exclusion of PWDs, society will probably not know that the National Disability provides that PWDs must not be discriminated against.”
“This retreat is a platform for information dissemination to create awareness and lead advocacy on the need to implement the Disability Act.” She explained.
Speaking about the trust fund for PWDs, Honourable Onohua said there is a need to create an alternative platform that will provide the enabling resources for implementing all the areas and duties and functions of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities provided by the Disability Act.
“As a committee, we are here in this retreat to deepen our knowledge on how best to achieve the full implementation of the Disability Act so that the over 25 million Nigerians with disabilities can give a sigh of relief when outside the country, whether in Europe or America, persons with disability are treated as special citizens.
“This committee will work in partnership with other relevant organisations to ensure that the rights of PWDs will not be infringed upon and to ensure the full weight of the law on anyone who contravenes the provisions of this law, such as what we have carried during the investigation on the alleged intimidation and discrimination of against PWDs by airline operators.”
On his part, the Country Director of Sightsavers, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, said, “we are working with the National Commission for Persons with disabilities to have a retreat for members so that they can understand what is required of them. They will be ensuring that not only laws are made but that also the commission is supported.”
Present at the retreat were; Acting National President, Joint National Association of Person with Disability (JONAPWD), Mr Abdullahi Usman, CEO of the Albino Foundation, Mr Jake Epelle, Executive Director of Inclusive Friends Association; Grace Jerry and National President of the Nigeria Association of the Blind, Mr Ishaq Adamu.