Joint National Association of Persons Living with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Ekiti chapter, has pleaded to the State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi to appoint a member as either commissioner or special adviser in government.
The association said such would propel Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to work hard and contribute to the society, rather than being liabilities.
JONAPWD also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to establish a commission to look after its members numbering 27.9 million across the country.
The body urged President Buhari to break the jinx by assenting to the National Disability Bill that had been awaiting presidential assent since the days of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
JONAPWD made this appeal at a press conference in Ado Ekiti heralding the 2018 international Day for persons with disabilities, as the claimed that time has come for the federal government to legalise the rights of members and stop interventions in the form of charity.
The conference was jointly addressed by JONAPWD Chairman, Mr. Omotola Omotula and Secretary, Funso Olajide.
Olajide, who read the speech said: “Statistics had shown that one out of 10 Nigerians lives with one form of disability or the other.
The same statistics revealed that PWDs in Nigeria are 27.9 million out of 180 million population.
“So, I believe we can have a commission to take care of our people. We are no longer comfortable with the establishment of a department under the Ministry of Women Affairs to intervene in our issues. The staff in the department can be deployed in the commission to work,” he said.
Olajide urged Fayemi to run all-inclusive government by appointing “a Special Adviser and other key appointments in his cabinet from our members, who are qualified.
“We also need improved funding for special schools, empowerment, social security , free education at all levels, subvention for running of the association, employment of able-bodied graduates into three Ekiti Special schools and provision of bus for JONADWP,” he demanded.
A practicing Lawyer and member of JONAPWD, Barrister Gboyega Afolabi, expressed regret over the delay in the signing of the disability bill into law by preceding administrations.
Afolabi , who traced the trajectory of the existence of the bill, said President Buhari would be the fourth President to preside over the bill that had already been passed by the two Houses of the National Assembly.
“The bill was passed by both federal Houses in 2003, but former President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to sign it. Even when we thought he would used this as a parting gift in 2007, he withheld assent to the bill.
“In 2015, it was also passed by both houses, but former President Goodluck Jonathan refused to sign. The bill has also been signed now, we want President Buhari to sign it and take the credit.
“Whatever the government does for us in Nigeria was considered a charity, we want to go beyond that level. We want these things to be done on the basis of rights and only this law can help us,” he said.