Kayode Fasua in Abeokuta
The Joint National Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD), at the weekend, lamented the delay in the implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill 2018 signed into law last April by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The association, however, praised Prophet T.B Joshua, the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), noting that his church had committed so much, in support of the less-privileged.
The Head of Persons Living with Disability in Ogun State, Mr. Abacha Adebesin expressed concern at a session with THISDAY yesterday, challenging the governments at all levels “to stop using charity approach to attend to our issues.”
The group also appraised the outgoing 2019, saying nothing much had been done by government at all levels to alleviate the suffering of the physically-challenged persons.
“We are happy that the President signed the bill for the persons living with disability into law last April but we are still to see the law in action; indeed, we want to be given our dues and equal rights as Nigerian citizens.”
President Buhari had signed The Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Bill 2018 into law last April.
The new law, among others, stipulates a five-year transitional period for modifying public buildings, structures, and automobiles, to make them accessible and usable for people with disabilities.
The law also provides for the establishment of a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, to be responsible for ensuring that physically challenged persons have access to housing, education and healthcare.
But lamenting the plight of his colleagues, Adebesin, who is also the supervisor for persons with disability at the Justice, Development and Peace Commission in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, urged the President to ensure that the new law does not end up as a lip service.
“While we appreciate President Buhari for signing the bill to protect our interest into law, we would want him to take a step further by making tangible budgetary allocations for the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, to enable it implement its mandate for the physically challenged.
“All over the country, most people living with disabilities are not being employed, but the Peace and Development Commission has now waded in through my department; that for every employment, at least one must go to a disabled person,” he stressed.
However, Adebesin applauded Prophet T.B Joshua, whom he described as a man of God who has passion for helping others and giving dignity to the less-privileged, especially the physically challenged ones.
“He has done so much for the physically challenged persons in this country that we have lost count. He has been consistent in giving scholarship to our members, besides other forms of assistance.
“In fact, I am a beneficiary of his scholarship scheme, as he paid my tuition fees twice, at both the degree and master’s levels.
“He has also done so much to rehabilitate and provide jobs for the lame, the blind, and others with various forms of disability,” Adebesin recalled.
He, therefore, called on other religious organisations, well-to-do citizens, and corporate bodies to emulate Joshua.