The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) has charged stakeholders to work together to tackle the obstacles, injustices and discrimination that persons with disabilities (PWDs) experience.
“Promoting inclusion for PWDs means recognising and protecting their rights”, it added.
In his address at an event in Lagos, with the theme, “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID- 19 world,” UNIC Director, Ronald Kayanja, said as the world recovers from the various variants of the virus, “we must ensure that the aspirations and rights of persons with disabilities are accommodated in the new era.”
He acknowledged that the pandemic had affected communities and societies besides deepening existing inequalities. Provost, Lagos State College of Health Technology, Dr. Moyo Kasim, said his organisation has consistently supported physically students with facilities, as well as ensuring compulsory learning of sign languages to integrate them into the society.
According to him, the school ensures PWDs get best services and treatment.
“We know these rights touch on every aspect of life: the right to go to school, to live in one’s community, to access healthcare, to start a family, to engage in political participation, to be able to play sport, to travel and to have decent work and businesses,” he added.
To the Chief Executive Officer, Citizen Health Care Agency, Mrs. Olubunmi Aladetuyi, the aged ones are sometimes maltreated, abused emotionally and financially.
She observed that most of the senior citizens are more likely to live in poverty and experience higher rates of violence, neglect and abuse, regretting that when crises such as COVID-19 grip communities, people with poor health and old persons with disabilities are among the worst hit.
In her remarks, Chief Executive Officer, Celebral Palsy Centre, Nonye Nweke, who spoke on “Person First: The Children with – disability etiquette awareness and sensitivity,” stressed that cerebral palsy persons should be appreciated first as human beings, because they are most affected. According to her, most of them are less cared for, and sometimes, abused emotionally and physically, since they cannot express themselves, apart from facing a high level of discrimination.
Also speaking, Coordinator, Media Action for persons with disabilities and inclusion (MAP -D1), Danmanplus Otti, advised Nigerians to avail the media with accurate data and statistics of PWDs to push their course in policy-making, planning and governance.
In her speech, Nigerian Info FM host, Wemimo Adewumi, harped on use of media platforms to leverage opportunities for leadership and participation of PWDs in activities relating to nation building.