THE Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), Anambra State Chapter, is to partner the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Anambra State, in the agency’s statewide awareness creation for implementation of the Anambra State Disability Law (ASDRL) 2018.
The state chairman of the association, Ugochukwu Okeke, disclosed this when he led members of management team of the association on advocacy visit to the state Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Charles Nwoji, at his office in Awka.
Okeke, who said that the advocacy visit was equally focusing on making provisions to including PWDs in NOA’s public enlightenment programmes at the grassroots so that they could talk on the disability issues, maintained that Anambra State House of Assembly has on September 13, 2018, passed Disability Rights Bill and was assented to by Anambra State Governor on December 18 the same year.
According to him, “the Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities, Anambra State Chapter, in collaboration with European Union (EU), is currently embarking on a massive advocacy visit to government ministries, departments and agencies in the state for awareness creation on implementation of the Anambra State Disability Rights Law 2018”.
The PWDs’ boss explained that Anambra is the first state in the South-East that has joined the league of the few states in the federation that have enacted a law to protect the rights of the PWDs in Nigeria, stressing the need for provision of facilities, especially construction of ramps in both public and private offices in the state for easy access of those offices by the PWDs as provided in the Anambra State Disability Rights Law, Section 23, subsection 1.
While appreciating the NOA director for his immense contributions to the development of the state through his unflinching commitment on the issues that concern the PWDs in the state, Okeke noted that the association has existed for over a decade in the state, appealing to both state and local governments, as well as the civil society organisations in the state to always support the promotion of the welfare of the PWDs in their scheme of affairs.
He further called on the leadership of NOA in the state to always encourage people, especially the government workers at all levels to form the habit of learning the basic use of sign language and the disability etiquettes indoor to facilitate easy communication in a forum.
Receiving the team, the state Director, NOA, Charles Nwoji, extolled the boldness of the association and assured them that NOA would attend to their demands with particular reference to introduction of sign language into the routine programmes of the agency for better understanding of the programmes by the participants.
Nwoji maintained that the field officers of the agency would be given an intensive training on sign language and disability etiquettes with a view to making their programmes people-oriented and as well serve the less privileged in society more better.
The NOA director emphatically expressed worry and displeasure over people’s negligence in attaching ramps on buildings, describing the act as insensitive and unlawful. “When you mentioned the building of ramps, it occurred to me the very important aspect of building individual houses, government establishments don’t even have. I know that attaching ramp in a building is a law in Nigeria; in federal secretariat, Abuja, there is a ramp for wheelchairs up to the highest floor. Sometimes, some people nonchalantly ask, ‘why is this (ramp) attached here?’ they can’t understand this until they join the fold of the people that need it.”
Assuring the association of NOA’s assistance in every ramification, he advised them to equally approach Anambra State Association of Town UnionS (ASATU) with their demands, saying that ASATU has what it takes to further make lives and welfare of the PWDs worthwhile.
In her remarks, the Information Officer of the association, Miss. Chidimma Ajemba, said that NOA had impacted greatly on society through its human-oriented programmes and appreciated the leadership of the agency for granting them an opportunity for the event.