A gender and social liberation specialist, Miss Ejiro Okotie has appealed to the Ebonyi State Government to domesticate the National Disability Act saying the absence of the legal framework has created a gap in inclusion of persons with disabilities across various sectors.
She spoke during a three-day USAID State2State programme aimed at ensuring that every citizen participated effectively in governance and service delivery of the state in Abakaliki.
According to her, an earlier assessment by the organization, indicated the need for more inclusion of persons with disability in the governance of Ebonyi State: “The event was necessitated by the need to train the stakeholders who will work with us, we have done the first edition by September, last year for some Civil Society Organizations alongside MDAs and the purpose is to see that the persons with disabilities are making decisions in the affairs within their various local government areas and communities.
“Thus, the stakeholders need to be equipped over the disability inclusion, it is on this note that we invited the traditional rulers to educate them on their vital role in the project and their influence in the communities and passing through the people will be the easy way to reach the communities.”
Okotie further disclosed that there was a tremendous improvement over their activity of last year as an impressive involvement was seen both in the state and at the local government levels in decision making and other processes.
She advised participants to step down the knowledge in their various areas mainly to enlighten other persons who were not part of the exercise so that the persons with disabilities could be included among the cabinet members and unions’ executives.
Traditional ruler of Amagu Ikwo Autonomous Community, Eze Dominic Alo, assured that he would accommodate other persons with disabilities in his cabinet and care for them more than ever in the area adding that before now, he had facilitated the emergence of one of the physically challenged persons as a catechist in his kingdom.
He commended the organisers of the programme and appealed that they should not relent in training other persons.
President, Joint Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), Ebonyi State chapter, Mrs Elizabeth Agbo, said that she had learnt a lot during the programme adding that before now she had concluded that the discrimination against persons with disabilities was normal but with the training, the wrong impression had been reversed.