From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
A non-governmental organisation, Women and Children’s Rights Empowerment Foundation (WCREF), in partnership with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and Cyrus Centre for Human Rights Education (CCHRE) on Friday engaged Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) on the effects of drug misuse, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and their impact on their mental and psychological health.
The Executive Director of WCREF, Barrister Maryam Abdu, said the PWDs were a marginalised and discriminated set of people by the society who were very sensitive to policies and issues concerning the society.
“People don’t specifically talk about the PWDs and, there are a lot of people facing the problems of GBV, drug use and COVID-19 which the PWDs are also part of. This made us centre the sensitisation on them to know their problems and guide them on how to address the identified issues”, she said.
A Counsellor with NDLEA, Fatima Abiola Popoola told the participants at the sensitisation workshop to do away with drug use and drug misuse no matter the temptation.
“People in the society are stigmatising against people with disability and when this happens, people that are being discriminated against can develop psychological problems. So, it becomes more problematic for persons with disability who use or abuse drugs in an attempt to overcome a challenge.
“By and large, there is the need for this enlightenment to tell those that are here that disability is not a limitation or hindrance to their success in whatever goal they set out to achieve. But then, the fact that you are being discriminated against should not lead you into drug abuse because you did not impose disability on yourself but nature did so.
“The long and short of this sensitisation is that NDLEA is enlightening them on how to cope with the society heat they may face as a result of their disability. To us at the NDLEA, drug use is ano-noo. Drug misuse is ano-noo”, she said.
Executive Director, Improvement in Respect To Social Status of The Disabled, Micah Shabi, noted that though some people with disability are into drug, that was not the position of his organisation and those of the critical stakeholders.
He said “as you can, 99 percent of the participants in this workshop are people with disability. It has been researched and confirmed that people with disability are indulging in drug use and drug abuse which is why we are here. We need to understand that drug does not know who is able or who is disabled. Drug abuse is discouraged among our people”.
President, National Association of Persons with Physical disability, Rilwan Muhammed Abdullahi, described the one-day sensitisation as important but wanted such to be extended to the grassroots where they have more people with disability who are into the drug.
“This meeting is very important to us especially as people with disability who sometimes become depressed each time we are being discriminated against. As a result, we are having some people taking drugtoto to be able to withstand the next discrimination they may encounter as they move about.
“If we are sensitised that disability is not the end of the world and know that one can become whatever he or she wants to become, then, you will understand that drug is not the solution.
“For this particular event, we only selected a few people with disability but we need to extend this sensitisation to the grassroots because a lot of our people are there that need to be sensitive”, he added.