From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that number of Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) in the country was on the increase as a result of insurgency and other forms of insecurity.
Gbajabiamila, stated this in, Abuja, on Tuesday, while declaring open a public hearing organized by the House Committee on Persons with Disabilities on alleged discrimination of PWDs by airline operators in the country.
The speaker, who was represented by Sergius Ogun, noted that the House is committed to the well being of PWDs.
He said “it is worrisome that the estimate of PWDs as at today is not clear. But according to the WHO publication in 2011, over 15 percent of our population suffer one disability or the other. More alarming is that out of this number, over 3.6 m are significantly challenge and have difficult in functioning.
“Apart from disabilities occasioned by birth, accident and natural disasters, the current security challenges ranging from insurgency, banditry, kidnapping to Farmers and herders crisis have further escalated the number of Persons living with Disabilities in Nigeria.”
The Chairman of the Committee, Princess Mariam Onuoha, in her opening remarks, said the House will ensure that the rights of PWDs in the country are protected.
According to her, ” the general public is aware of the provisions of the discrimination against persons with disabilities prohibition Act.
” Part of the requirements that government public places should provide access for persons with disability and a mandatory and compulsory inclusion of not less that five percent by organizations and agencies in a way of employment and appointments and other related palliatives.
” We assure that the rights of persons with disabilities and other vulnerable persons as within our mandate will be protected.”