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Blind ex-perm sec urges inclusion of persons with disabilities in Anambra govt

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A PASSIONATE appeal has gone to Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State to have  persons with disabilities (PWDs) represented in political appointments and to give a  level playing ground to  them  through providing  architectural barriers for the physically handicapped in public places in the state.

  A retired permanent secretary of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs and Executive Chairman, Nigerian National Advisory Council for the Blind, Dr Azuka David Ofomata, who made the appeal during an exclusive interview with National Light in Awka, said  there were  a lot of complaints by PWDs in respect to the examination and appointment of teachers as some said  that they  weren’t given level playing ground and that even when they passed, some of them were not appointed.

  I came concerning issues about Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs). I observed that in this administration, the PWDs were not represented in political appointments, and i also came here to discuss concerning this administration giving a level playing ground for PWDs by having free architectural barriers for the physically handicapped – those with wheel chairs and clutches. Also, there are lots of complaints by PWDs in respect to the examination and appointment of teachers. Some said that they weren’t given level playing ground. Even when they passed, some of them were not appointed.

  “Why I am saying this is that from the number of appointments that were made in MDAs, there wasn’t any person appointed to the position – maybe of commissioner, special adviser, senior special assistant  (SSA) or  otherwise.

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  “This is not giving an order or trying to direct the government on what they should do. I think that if we are accommodated, it will help a lot especially in the area PWDs. It is true that they have a board that handles PWDs but we will be very glad if other boards have PWDs working there.

  “We need to have accessibility in public buildings like having ramps so people with wheel chairs will find it easy to access. In the teachers recruitment exams, some found it difficult to get to the centres. Some were carried with their wheelchairs and you know the anxiety associated to exams and how such people will feel after being carried.

  “Visually impaired people were not given equipment that would help them and they needed extra time. All these are hurdles that need to be eliminated.   They can use the regular computers but there is something they can put in the regular computers – Jaws l- activated with speech. When you put it, it will be speaking out when the person is typing. It is voice activated. After writing, one presses some buttons to read out what he wrote for corrections. They have documents readers that can read typed documents. There are so many equipments that can help us function effectively.

  I’m not trying to say that they should appoint them if they are not qualified. If they fail, ok. If they don’t have requisite qualification, they should not be taken because they are disabled, although there are percentages given to PWDs to ensure they are part of governments”, he said.

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