International Day for Persons Living with Disabilities
Daniel Otti - The Albino Foundation
Akinjide Akinpelu - Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind
Ekaete Judith Umoh - National President of Joint National Association of Persons with Disability & General Secretary of Africa Disability Forum
Today, Morning Crossfire takes a look at one of world’s top concerns; how to take care of people with disabilities. As usual, the show hosts, Wemimo Adewuni and Sheriff Quadry starts the show with useful statistics.
According to World Bank, 15% of the world’s population - One billion people, experience some form of disability. In addition to that, Human Rights Watch reports that about 15 per cent of Nigeria’s population amounting to at least 25 million people have a disability.
Apart from that, 20 percent of the world’s poor are disabled. Children with disabilities are less likely to attend school than non-disabled children. Education completion gaps are found across all age groups in all settings, with the pattern more pronounced in poorer countries.
For 2019, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities theme is "Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda".
This agenda focuses on empowering persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development and pledges to ‘leave no one behind’, recognizing disability as a cross-cutting issue, to be considered in the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are the blueprint for a more sustainable future for everyone.
Since the passage of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, would you say things have improved? How would you rate govt's performance in protecting the interests of persons with disabilities in Nigeria?
Here are some feedback from our guests in the studio:
Ekaete Judith Umoh
“We are living in a society that doesn’t recognize that we are here. For children with disabilities, they are often neglected. The government is not looking at it and that’s a burden on the families of these children. We are advocating for proper educating of the children with disability and that’s why we have schools for the blind and so on. But SDG 4 encourages inclusive education.”
Does she think that children with special needs need a special schools? Yes, she thinks that this form of education discriminates against these children, as there are no markets for people with disabilities. Ekaette thinks that inclusive education works for children with disabilities. So, even the system is discriminatory. She asks if people who have children with disabilities have special rooms in their homes in which they keep the children.
“We made it clear on three points (regarding albinism) that albinism is due to lack of melanin in the eyes, skin and in the hair. This makes people exposed to greater risks of cancer.
“To clarify matters further, he refers to the United Nations’ definition of a disability: A permanent impairment either physical, sensory, or intellectual that a person has and would not allow him to operate on equal basis or optimally, with the rest of the society. If you are an albino in Canada, you will not be considered as someone with disability because people there are well aware of what albinism is all about.”
But here in Africa, people with albinism are classed as been people with disabilities? More to it is the social stigmatization attached to the situation. If we are able to look at it the way developed countries such as Canada looks at it, albinism will be removed from the list of disabilities that people have.
“We are not too far behind in the treatment of people with disabilities. I used to know that parents used to hide their children. But now a lot of advocacy has been put to work and the situation is changing. But still, there is a lot of room for development.
“Some of the children affected belong to the rich. In this way, social status may make a father hide a child with disability.”
Furthermore, he later related a situation in which he used a bank ATM with the help of someone who works in the bank. The person got away with his money. He reported to the banking authorities but didn't report to the local authorities.
Femi Taiwo comments on Facebook. He said; It's a great topic we have today. Unfortunately, the government policies have not catered for PPLWD in any form. There was building accessibility policies but these policies have not been enforced because it's for people with disabilities.
Even some parents are not helping matters in any way. I remember how my mum did everything humanly possible to get me through treatment and made sure I went through school despite advises against that. And today I've become who I am and independent. The society still has a lot of orientation. National orientation agency has not done anything in this regard. Sad experience, from your guest. Imagine s bank staff doing that to a visually impaired person, this shows the level of decadence in our society. You rub a visually impaired person.
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INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Morning Crossfire with Wemimo Adewuni (@wemimospot) & Sheriff Quadry (@SheriffQuadry)