by Yekini Jimoh
The Programmes Lead, TAF Africa, Olayemi Samuel, has urged Journalists in Kogi to step up efforts towards escalating inclusive reportage for people with disabilities, (PWDs) in the State.
He gave the advice on Tuesday when he led other officials of the NGO on a courtesy visit to the Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), State Council in Lokoja, North Central Nigeria, Alhaji Adeiza Momoh Jimoh.
The programmes lead said the advice became imperative because of the low level of reportage of the plight of PWDS and the need to shore up awareness on them and strengthen their inclusiveness in governance among other issues.
According to him, there is need for journalists to dwell more on the need for society to assist PWDs in creating access to various rights assigned to them by the constitution to cast their votes during elections without any hindrance.
Samuel, who said that the NGO is charged with the responsibility of championing the cause and rights of PWDs, called on the council to establish a Disability Desk for the collection and dissemination of information about PWDs to the government and other institutions in the state for prompt attention.
He noted that there were many PWDs with great potential with zeal to contribute to the social, economic and political development of the society but had no access to the enabling environment to enable them to fulfill their ambition.
The journalists, Samuel added, needed to help this segment of the population, through investigative and inclusive reportage by highlighting their problems to the members of the public and private sectors of the economy for lasting solutions.
He said, irrespective of the provision of the constitution which enunciates the rights of PWDs in the scheme of things, experience has shown that low reportage of the world of this class of Nigerians, coupled with the use of uncomplimentary language on them such as “cripple” among others in the media, tend to dehumanize the group.
This development, he said, killed the morale of many PWDs who would have used their talent to contribute to the development of society.
According to him, TAF Africa is also collaborating with other network organizations, such as INEC in the country to increase awareness of the need to include PWDs in the electioneering process of Nigeria in line with the electoral law.
He called for the collaboration of Kogi journalists to assist the NGO in achieving its aims and objectives.
Responding, the chairman of Kogi NUJ MomohJimoh Adeiza commended the NGO for accomplishing its task with success stories and promised the commitment of his members to collaborating with TAF Africa in their tasks.
He called on other organizations, such as INEC to join the NGO in their efforts to ensure increased inclusion of PWDs in the electoral process and other aspects of national development to enable them to exercise their civic responsibility for the country.