By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Persons living with disabilities in Akwa Ibom State have berated the state government for not carrying them along in the scheme of things in the state to enable them cater for themselves meaningfully.
They rather alleged that they have been used and dumped by politicians in the state who usually come to them for votes during elections only to be abandoned afterward.
Speaking at a-One day sensitization workshop on corruption and persons with disabilities in Akwa Ibom state, organized by the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), the physically challenged lamented none legal frameworks to protect their rights in the state.
The Secretary of the State Association of Persons Living with Disabilities, Prince Akaninyeme, who spoke at the workshop lamented marginalization and called on the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmauel to consider their plight as fellow indigenes of the state and citizens of Nigeria.
According to him the state “government only give us fish but never taught them how to fish”
He alleged that, “A bill to protect physically challenged in the state against all forms of discrimination was passed into law by the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly but the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Nwoko Uwemedimo, advised the governor not to assent to the law.”
The bill which is to provide for the establishment of a Special Commission for the physically challenged also made it mandatory for the state government to cater for their welfare.
The law, it was gathered, was sent to the state governor, Udom Emmanuel in 2016.
Also speaking a visually impaired graduate of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) Miss EkomObong, lamented that she graduated from the University with pains and participated in the mandatory one year National youth Service Programme of the federal government, but without any source of livelihood.
She said, “I am a graduate of the University of Uyo. I didn’t enjoy any form of considerations. I paid all my fees just like every other student in the school but the University didn’t provide necessary reading and learning materials, my parents have to provide all of that.
“I was the only blind student in the department, no braillewriter no speech laptop nor brail teacher, yet full school fees were collected”.
EkomObong said that after graduation she participated in the mandatory one year service with the Akwa Ibom state Ministry of Education in 2016 but was not considered for employment to assist her parents after the huge investments on education.
The Program Officer of the CCD, Mr. Kola Ogunbiyi who gave an overview of corruption, noted that corruption had eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian society.
He called on all hands to be on deck to tackle the menace as neither the President, nor the EFCC or ICPC could address the issue of corruption in Nigeria alone.
Ogunbiyi who attributed the neglect of the physically challenged persons in the country to corruption, said his organization is committed to adopting measures that would bring about domestication and implementation of the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities which Nigeria is a signatory.