Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in Abia State have called for strict enforcement of laws on disabilities nationwide, noting the recent report by World Health Organisation (WHO) that the number of persons with visual impairment increases daily.
The PWDs stated that the scenario became more worrisome as it clearly tells that there are considerable challenges of eye care, stressing that the impact of visual disability on a person’s life cannot be overstated.
Chairman of Abia State chapter of Nigeria Association of the Blind, Isaac William, made the call during the state’s 2023 White Cane and Safety Day Celebration, with the theme, ‘The Inclusivity of Persons Living with Visual Impairment in Environmental Development Plans’.
He said the international White Cane and Safety Day was set aside to create awareness globally on visual impairment as a significant tool for the independence of the blind person.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs. Ngozi Felix, who confirmed the WHO Report, added that the governor’s wife, Priscilla Otti, had taken the task of promoting and advocating equitable access to public services for persons with visual impairment as well as their capacity building in communities on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.
She added that the government was committed to policies and programmes geared towards protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.
Special Assistant to the Governor on Disability Matters, David Anyaele, commended Governor Alex Otti for practically demonstrating inclusivity in the state, irrespective of their state, adding that the crucial way of enthroning equity is by enforcing the related laws.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Removing Barriers from Blindness, a visually-impaired lecturer at the Nnamdi Azikwe University (NAU), Awka, Anambra State, Dr. Kalu Ndukwe, agreed that such barriers could be removed by enforcing the extant laws, giving the blind right of way, employing and not discriminating against them, giving them equal access and rights to have self confidence, among others.