Gov Idris Wada urges Nigerians to support People Living With Physical Disabilities

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Kogi State Governor Captain Idris Wada on Wednesday challenged Nigerians to support and encourage People Living With Physical Disabilities (PLWD) to meet their aspirations and become active members of the society.

Wada made the call at the presentation of 575 wheel chairs donated by Free Wheelchair Mission, USA through the US-based Associated Health Resource Centre, to the physically challenged from the 21 Local Government Areas of the at the Lokoja Township Stadium.

The governor said that the society should note that “disability can happen to anyone and that means we must respect all disabled persons and extend hands of fellowship to them and help them to succeed in life.

“In December, 2012, I had an accident. I could not walk for about six months. I could not climb stairs; I had to live in a bungalow. So, I have experienced disability”, the governor said and urged the disabled to look forward to the future on a bright note.

On maintenance of the chairs, he said: “In my view the best people to train to maintain the wheel chairs should be the physically challenged themselves, so, I would like my friends who are physically challenged through their association, to organize a team and sent their list to me”, he said.

Wada used the occasion to commend the state House of Assembly for passing the Physically Challenged Peoples Bill into law saying that the bill which was being fine-tuned for his assent.

The bill among other provisions, he said, stipulated that two per cent (2%) of the state’s entire workforce be preserved for the disables thereby creating employment opportunities for them.

Representatives of the Associated Health Resource Centre of California, USA, Mrs Theresa Alaeze, Ms Theresa Abah and Andrew Ucheomumu Esq. said the centre had assisted the disable in five other states in Nigeria with the wheelchairs.

The centre, they said, believed in investing in human quality describing it as the best investment ever as it guaranteed longevity and happiness of the human race.

The First Lady, Mrs Halimat Wada through whose pet programme, Kogi Women Empowerment Network (KOWEN) the donations were made said it was in recognition of “our keen interest and support to the less privileged in our society.

“Government alone at all levels cannot grapple with all the needs of the entire populace hence the decision of donor agencies, corporate bodies, well meaning individuals to support government in this area is a right step in the right direction”, she said.

Mallam Usman Jimoh, Permanent Secretary, Women Affairs Ministry challenged the beneficiaries to use the wheelchairs to overcome their mobility challenges and pursue honest economic ends saying: “You are advised to avoid the tendency of making begging a vocation.

“It is degrading and never a worthwhile venture”, he said and charged artisans and technicians in the state to compliment government efforts by providing free vocational training opportunities for PLWD.

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