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NSB Calls for Inclusion of PwD in Governance

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By Muslimat Itopa

The Vice-Chairperson, Nigerian Society for the Blind (NSB), Kogi State Chapter, Mrs. Agnes Akinwande has called for the inclusion of people with Disability in governance.

She made the call at a recent one-day training workshop on ‘Disability reporting in the media organized by Stallion Times Media Service in Lokoja.

One of the objectives of the event was to stimulate issue-focused reporting on the preponderance of abilities in people with disability.

Mrs. Akinwande who is also a journalist with Kogi State Broadcasting Corporation, said inter alia: “We are not completely disabled. If one part of our body is disabled it does not mean the entire body is dead.

“We can talk. We can feel. We can reason. Many of us can read and write.

“There are a whole lot of things that we can do.

“Government agencies should employ PwDs as enshrined in the National Disability Act, 2018 which says public organizations shall have persons with disabilities constituting at least 5% of their employment.

“Today, we excel in many endeavors of life like sports activities.

“We too can contribute positively to nation-building. Therefore, why are we being stigmatized?” Akinwande asked rhetorically.

She noted that the present administration of Governor Yahaya Bello has tried in the area of employment for people with special needs. She is a living testimony.

She said there are poor employment rates among people with special needs; it doubles that of the able-bodied people, owing to attitudinal, mobility-related, technological, and physical barriers.

Akinwande explained that assistive devices are expensive and not easily available, which limits mobility and access to the technology for people with special needs.

In addition, many physically challenged persons experience frequent denial of job opportunities, due to employers’ negative attitudes, inappropriate job placement, lower expectations at work, and a lack of reasonable accommodation.

Earlier, speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, Stallion Times, Isiyaku Ahmed said: “The training was necessitated by the realization of the fact that the Media’s role of promoting the positive image of disability is critical.

“The Media can stimulate the climate of social inclusion, non-discrimination, and equal opportunity in governance at all levels.

“It can be achieved if we report the abilities of people with disability and the physically challenged.

“The media must work to get rid of the common negative stereotypes of persons with special needs that have penetrated the public.

The media should consistently promote issues that affect people with disability, he added.

The Chairman, Kogi State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Momoh Jimoh-Adeiza commended Stallion Times Media Services for the training.

He called on participants, especially NUJ members to avail themselves of the opportunity to intimate themselves with the challenges of people with disability and the physically challenged so as to consistently report on the issues.

“As Media men and women, let the trust between us and the Physically Challenged persons subsist.

“We must not allow the people with special needs to be neglected. They must not suffer in silence.

“Their stories must be told for the attention of government and other stakeholders. This is the essence of this Workshop,” the NUJ Chairman Emphasized.

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