In his determination to give all citizens equality, Nasarawa state Governor, Umaru Al-makura, last week took a step to eliminate discriminations against physically challenged persons in the state. MOHAMMED YANGIDA reports
Institutional commitment is the bedrock of any meaningful and sustainable development in any society, and it seeks to improve not just an individual but the entire society, as without it no any advancement would be made in society.
It is in line with the above that the humanitarian governor of Nasarawa state Governor Umaru Almakura vowed to ensure that every segment of the society is given fair opportunity to access quality and free education in the state, irrespective of social or physical difference.
According to the governor, “it is sad to see people discriminate against those living with one form of disability or the other, personally I have faced the same challenge especially while I was campaign to become the Governor of the state, some people saw no reason why I should be voted into office simply because I suffer from hearing impairment “.
It was on this note that Governor Almakura reinstated his determination to give his best to the state by working very hard to make a difference with regard to the disabled and through this, his government will surpass the achievements of past administrations.
The saying: “In any disability there is ability” has become a reality with Governor Almakura having distinguished himself he then embarked on projects that have direct bearing on the lives of Nasarawa state citizens.
Over the years people living with disability have been faced with severe discrimination in the state, however, to change the living condition of people living with disability, Governor Al-makura took a step to carter for all categories of persons living with disability in his state, so that they can reach their potentials as well to have a meaning future.
The governor therefore, paid a particular attention to the welfare, economic, political and social well being of physically challenge persons by establishing a comprehensive special school with modern equipt facilities in the state with a view of reducing in burden on parents of such children, which is scheduled for commissioning by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The school will be functional and meet the needs with people living with disability. For the purposes of informing people who may not know, the structure is 100 percent completed. We are furnishing the school now,” He said.
Al-Makura also revealed that the special institution would offer free services to all students who enroll in the institution, a gesture which the governor said is aimed at ameliorating the hardship of the parent of the disabled students.
“There will be no school fees and each of the category of disabled children will have a laboratory in testing and assessing them on how we could improve those impairment that they suffer,” He said.
Adding that government intended to give it intellectual academic support, so that they can be able to reach the height of their potentials, and for those with technical know-how a dedicated unit in the school is fully equipped to provide them with diverse specialized technical skills.
He also tasked parents to send their children with disability to this school saying that apart from the financial benefit government would have the best practices in the education of persons with disabilities in the state.
Thursday July 28th this year, the national leadership of the Joint National Association of People Living with Disabilities, led by its national President, Mrs. Ekaette Umoh was in Lafia, Nasarawa state to see for themselves, and to rob minds with the governor for the smooth takeoff of the school, of which the president of the association expressed gratitude to the governor for showing genuine concern towards people living with disability.
She said the association would do all it could to ensure that many people living with disability take advantage of the world class institution been built for the disabled.
Al-Makura did not stop at that but also promised to give automatic job employment to physically challenged persons who have attained a level of education above secondary school in the state. Also said free medical care for those who are registered as bonefide people living with disability would be paid by the government of Nasarawa state.
“this is a time that we should think inward and find ways and means of making life worthwhile a time to also asked ourselves what can we extend to the next person been him disabled or not “
The governor further explained that people in the past tried to shortchanged the policy but with the special creation of a ministry of special Education in the state, government will get all categories of people living with disability registered authenticate and give them an identification for free medical care.
Almakura also said that his government accord top premium to people living with disability which according to him
“On assumption of office in 2011 three centres has so far being established for disable person across the three senatorial zones in the state and I assured the centres shall soon be opened” he said.
Therefore, he appealed to government at all levels to ensure the inclusiveness of disable persons in their plan and policies adding that inclusiveness in the society is the one of the cardinal motive of disable persons.
On his part, the Commissioner for Special Education, Science and Technology Engineer Mohammed Idris promised to explore avenues that will be better the lives of people living with disability in the state.
Meanwhile, Almakura also noted that his administration will initiate disability and child right bills to protect the rights of disabled persons and children in the state.
According to him the enactment of disability and child right laws would encourage inclusiveness and protect the human and social rights of the disabled and children in the state hence the need to enact it.
“Part of the advocacy we are making for this laudable initiative is for me to initiate at the local level disability law in Nasarawa state and child rights law,”
Adding that enactment of the law would provide equal opportunity to every citizen whether abled or disabled and offer people living with disability a sense of belonging.
“If we are to be realistic and provide equal opportunity to every citizen of this country, government across the nation must start thinking about inclusivity in our actions, policies and in our executive, “He said.
Almakura also appreciates the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the National Assembly in enacting disability law in Nigeria adding that if such law is enacted, the rights of the disabled would be respected and protected.
“We will do whatever we can to encourage our legislators, to encourage the Executive to ensure that in a very short period of time disability law is enacted in this country”. He added.
Be that as it may, Almakura, a victim of disability, would not withhold his passion in the overall development of persons living in such state of life, added to his unparalleled commitment to his humanitarian gesture towards those relegated to the background in the scheme of socio-economic development.
Over the years people living with disability have been faced with severe discrimination in the state, however, to change the living condition of people living with disability, Governor Al-makura took a step to carter for all categories of persons living with disability