Speaker femi Gbajabiamila makes case for full implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, celebrates PLWDs with scholarship, medical procedure sponsorship.
The Speaker said the full implementation of the law could address issues of discrimination, empowerment and equal opportunity for Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWSs) in Nigeria. Gbajabiamila, who was represented by the Chairman of the newly-created House Committee on Disabilities, Rep. Miriam Onuoha, spoke on Friday during the celebration of the 2020 World Disability Day hosted by the Office of the Speaker.
The event was also attended by a virtual audience that included Barrister Bolarinwa, Senior Counsel, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Dr. Ifeanyi Chikunie and others. Gbajabiamila noted that though it’s often what happened, disability of any kind should not take away from the dignity of the individual or take away the right to dream big dreams or hinder the achievement of grand ambitions. “This is because we have designed our societies, our governments and our systems of policymaking and implementation without considering the rights, hopes and prayers of our less-abled brethren”, Gbajabiamila noted.
When Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities (Prohibition), Act became law in 2019, it was the cause of much joy because we had such high expectations. Those expectations haven’t been met because we haven’t fully set up an infrastructure to support full implementation. ”It is now our joint responsibility to make sure that we do all that is required to bring this law to life so that all our nation’s people can receive the protections they deserve. And just as importantly, make sure that no citizen of Nigeria will ever again be deprived of the opportunity to live a full life due to disability of whatever kind. Earlier in his opening remarks, Special Assistant to the Speaker on Special Needs and Equal Opportunities, Abdulsalam Kamaldeen, noted that the negative perception by the public was even more damaging to the PLWDs than their disabilities. The highlight of the celebration was the presentation of scholarships to six students from Government Secondary Schools, Sherati and Gosa as well as the LEA Primary Schools, Karamanjiji and Kuchigoro by the Chief of Staff to the Speaker, Hon. Sanusi Rikiji. Six PLWDs, an amputee and another with needs for calliper, among others, were also gifted with special sponsorship for their needs.