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JONAPWD advocates inclusiveness, asserts rights of persons with disabilities

The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has called for inclusiveness in Nigeria, stressing that PWDs also deserve good things in life.

The Kaduna State chapter chairman of the association, Suleiman Abdulazeez, made the call in an interview with journalists at the sideline of a meeting in commemoration of the International Day for PWDs on Sunday in Kaduna.

The theme of the 2023 International Day of PWDs is “United in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs for, with, and by persons with disabilities.”

Mr Abdulazeez said the association’s objective was to educate the public and the government on the plight and conditions of the physically challenged.

According to him, a lot of people think that anything being done to PWDs is out of pity or a kind gesture and is not seen as a right.

“Any good deed that is done to PWDs is a right because we are also humans.

“A section of the Nigerian constitution states that once a person is breathing and is a citizen, any provision, for example, welfare, is meant to be enjoyed by all.

“We are humans and our souls are intact; we deserve all the good things in life,” he said

According to him, the call for inclusiveness became necessary given the various roles played by PWDs, especially during the electioneering period.

Mr Abdulazeez said, “We want to be included in everything related to human activities like jobs, skills acquisition, and appointments. Our population is growing daily because of insecurity.

“We deserve to live better; our votes count so much in elections.”

Also speaking, Ibrahim Abubakar, the state chairman of the Nigerian Association for the Blind, decried the incessant price increase of educational materials and mobility like white cane for blind students.

He also lamented that digital literacy was affecting blind children.

To this end, he called on the state government and wealthy individuals to assist the poor blind children with scholarships.

Similarly, the state chairman of the Association for the Deaf, Mohammed Musa, lamented over the continuous discrimination and lack of accessible, sound, and communicative devices.

He said, “Lack of all these is affecting real communication between the members and other people.”

Mr Musa also said that the participation of deaf people in any conference or dialogue was very difficult due to the lack of sign-language interpreters.

Mr Musa, therefore, called on event and conference planners to involve sign language interpreters for effective communication.

“Television stations should engage sign language interpreters to enable their members to understand or communicate effectively about happenings around them,” he said.

Steven Waya, the head of gender and social inclusion of the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment, and Development (CALPED), said the inclusion process for PWDs was a collective effort of all relevant stakeholders to unite in action to rescue and achieve the SDGs.

He said CALPED would continue to provide technical support for the disability community and continue to advocate for improved actions, commitments and cooperation from all stakeholders to fulfil the pledge of not leaving anyone behind.

Mr Waya commended the collaborative effort of the state government, JONAPWD and other stakeholders towards disability-inclusive development in Kaduna State.

(NAN)

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