By Ugochukwu Alaribe
People with disabilities under the aegis of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disability, JONAPWD, South-East zone, has decried the high state of insecurity in the South East and sued for peace in the zone.
The Association who stated this during a visit to the Methodist Bishop and Co-Chair of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, IDFP, Dr. Sunday Onuoha, in Umuahia, Abia State, stated that banditry, kidnapping, and other violent crimes have become the order of the day and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation and sue for peace and dialogue.
Coordinator of JONAPWD, South East zone, Hon. Wisdom Okechukwu Kalu, lamented that persons with disability are the most vulnerable and worst hit in the situation, stressing that they visited Bishop Onuoha for him to help amplify their cries to the government and well meaning individuals.
In his words; “We sue for peace because of what is happening in the country. Insecurity, killings by bandits are all over the place. We, the persons with disabilities, are the most vulnerable and the worst hit in the situation. That when people with legs, vision, and able-bodied will be running and escaping for their dear lives, persons with disabilities cannot help themselves. Therefore, we are trapped between life and death.
This is why we have come from all the states of the South East to visit Bishop Sunday Onuoha because we know his voice carries influence and weight. We are calling on him for safety, for him to call on all the leaders from all walks of life, to call them for peace that the persons with disability in Nigeria are suffering and are now trapped by insecurity. That we are the most vulnerable, we don’t want to die. We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation and call for peace and dialogue.
That we, the persons with disability, should suffer only one thing. We can’t suffer from a disability and still be facing death daily in Nigeria. The insecurity is alarming; we are using this opportunity to call the UN, EU, USA, and the international community to call for our rescue in Nigeria. That we are crying and dying of hunger, hardship and insecurity, and suffering disability. The trouble is too much on us. We are calling on Bishop Onuoha to help amplify our voice so that the nation can hear us.”
While welcoming the members of the group, Bishop Onuoha, condemned the destruction of lives and property and urged those being manipulated to cause such destruction to desist.
He tasked the security agencies to be careful in the discharge of their duties in order not to waste innocent lives, stressing that the nation can resolve its differences without bloodshed.
“We all need peace. And where there is crisis, nobody is secured and where there is peace and harmony, there can be guarantee that each person’s rights will be respected. A gunshot doesn’t know whether you are a Bishop or Imam, it doesn’t know whether you are blind or crippled. The gun does not know whether you have legs or not. Whenever it is shot, it goes out.
“The concern we have at this point is that lives are being destroyed, we do not support criminality and burning of public places. We also do not support innocent Nigerians being killed in the name of insecurity. Many young people are being wasted, many people are missing. A story goes that a blind man was almost killed by security agents In Owerri. We don’t want such to continue, it is time for everybody to come to the table. We can all come to the table; nobody should be too small or big to say I am sorry.
“We are one family under God; we can resolve whatever differences we have without bloodshed. None of us gave life and none of us has the right to take life; life belongs to the Almighty God. We need to appeal to our security agencies; they have to be careful in carrying out their legitimate responsibilities. They must not destroy innocent lives. Lives are precious, we shouldn’t waste them. Let’s respect the rights of others.
“I do not believe that the President has asked law enforcement agencies to go and destroy innocent lives. They are directed to protect lives and when those lives that are supposed to be protected are destroyed; then there will be crisis. We don’t want crisis and war. We also want to appeal to young people who are being used and manipulated to destroy public properties to stop. We can’t continue like this destroying public properties and our common wealth.
It is unacceptable. Life is difficult; we should sustain what we have so that we can give employment to the people. If we destroy our common assets, there will be unemployment. There will be no food .When there is insecurity, you can see that many of our eminent personalities who are employers of labour have ran away; nobody is coming around. When they don’t come around, there will be unemployment. Let there be peace so that there will be harmony. When there is harmony, everyone will be happy.
Those who want crisis and destroy peoples’ lives and those who are in the bush destroying peoples’ lives should stop. Those who are in the farm raping women, destroying farmlands must stop and burning police stations must stop, we want peace in the land and with peace, things will work well.”