By Chinwe Onuigbo
The Joint National Association of Persons With Disability (JONAPWD),Anambra State Chapter has organised one day press conference to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Disability Rights Law (2018), recounting success stories since its creation and evaluating their efforts in seeking the change they desired.
Members of the disability community were marginalised and segregated in the society and even largely excluded from participating in community development, education and training, health services, and even in marriage, employment opportunities, until the enactment and domestication of the Disability Rights Law. It took six years of relentless efforts to advocate for the legislation which will protect the rights of persons with disability in the state.
However,on September 13, 2018, Anambra State House Assembly passed the Disability Rights Bill into law and was assented to immediately by the then governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano.
On 18th December, 2018, Anambra state became the first and only state in the South East region to have a legislation that protects the rights of persons with disability and sustains their social, physical and political environment to manifest their potential.
The Chairman, JONAPWD Anambra Chapter, Comrade Ugochukwu Okeke underscored strategic points that led to their success stories which include massive awareness and enlightenment through live radio/TV programmes, training, and advocacy engagements for leaders at state and local government levels.
He said it would also build their capacity on power mapping, transparency and prudence management of resources from various development partners and JONAPWD partnership with civil society organisations, faith based organisations
and the media in Anambra State.
Comrade Okeke stated that despite the success stories they are still faced with lack of funds to embark on improved targeted mass awareness projects, inaccessibility of public structures, subjecting members to stand in queues when seeking for social services and refusal of motorists to stop members in a place that will be easier for them to continue their journey.
Comrade Okeke however noted that, they have been able, through their various engagements, to achieve the construction of ramps at Nnewi North and Ihiala LGAs where their members are having their monthly meeting, appointments of disability desk officers at the National Human Rights Commission Anambra, increase in numbers of persons with disability, and celebration or marriages of members.
He appreciated the efforts of the present administration led by Professor Chukwuma Soludo towards a greater goodwill to persons with disabilities whose results are excellent in service delivery and requested that resourceful Anambra persons with Disability should be brought into positions of policy formulation and implementation which will offer productive values towards an inclusive and a prosperous nation.