From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Nigerians have been urged to help strengthen fundamental rights of millions of Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) in the country so that they would not be labilities to the society, but would have opportunities to contribute their quota to national development.
The urge was given at a media discussion to commemorate International Day for PLWDs, entitled: ‘Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development: The Role of Innovation in Fuelling an Accessible and Equitable World’, held at the NUJ Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan, organised by the Star Children Development Initiative in partnership with the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Oyo State Council.
The Chief Executive Officer, Star Children Development Initiative, Grace Alexander, stated that access should be given to PLWDs and negative stereotypes of them should be stopped. She enjoined the media to help the people in reporting issues that have been limiting them in the society.
Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, Prof Olufemi Fakolade, stated that in reporting PLWDs, their personalities should come before their disabilities. He said he had supervised a Ph.D student who lives with disabilities and he was very sound. He added that PLWDs also have capacities to contribute to national development, hence they should not be discriminated against.
The founder, Shafaudeen in Islam, Prof Sabitu Olagoke, in his keynote address, noted that the media should play important role in presenting disability issues, capable of changing negative about PLWDs, such that the rights, and dignity of them would be promoted towards building a peaceful and inclusive society for all.
“The convention on the rights of persons with disabilities can be leveraged on as a tool to promote their access to education, employment, health and other areas of development on an equal basis with others.”
The Chairman, NUJ, Oyo State Council, Ademola Babalola, who was represented by the vice chairman, Oluseye Ojo, said the union would continue to supporting persons with disabilities to the best of knowledge and limit, urging the government to put the right persons in the right place for inclusive development. He also urged the government at all levels to implement Discrimination Against Persons Living with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 towards making lives meaningful for people with special needs.