Chris Steven, Abuja
Disabled Nigerians under the auspices of Joint National Association of Persons with disabilities(JONAPWD) have bemoaned, what they termed as exclusion from political appointments made so far by President Muhammadu Buhari.
JONAPWD President,Ekaeta Umoh who made the observation in Abuja,Friday,said shutting them out of governance was breaching the United Nations charter on disability issues.
She said current statistics of disabled Nigerians stood at almost 25million with a sizeable number of them ecking out a living through begging.
While emphasizing their potentials for national growth and development,she said government was loosing out on their creative skills in governance.
She also lamented the continued delay by the National Assembly to pass the bill on disability,saying such measures were necessary to achieve full integration of the disabled both in political,social and economic rights.
“We call on the federal government to consider members of the disabled community for federal appointments,we also call on political parties to encourage persons living with disability to aspire for political office and executive party membership to promote inclusion and integration.
“Beyond calling on Nigerian government to support the disability bill,we want the National Assembly to expedite passage of the bill on disability.
“We feel that the delay in passing the bill speaks of lack of political will,it has been on for twelve years and it has suffered lack of presidential accent three times,maybe we have not constructively engaged in the demand and supply side,there is a misconception about this bill,maybe on the supply side the government thinks this is too expensive or too bogus a bill.
“You hear some people say the penalties are too much especially on the content side,but no one has written to us officially to point out specific areas of the bill.
“We are being shut out of governance,particularly in key political appointments,what does it take to participate in government,we are all educated people,we have got the skills and capacities, that is all it takes to participate but we face barriers,for instance a blind lawyer who wants to work in the ministry of justice will need additional workplace policy so he or she can be a little bit comfortable to work,”Umoh stated.