By Lawrence Nwimo
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano has established Disability Rights Commission to oversee the issues of the persons living with disabilities in the state.
Orient Daily reports that the establishment of the commission was in commemoration of the annual International Day for Persons With Disabilities celebrated every 3rd of December.
The commission as expected, functions as a corporate body empowered by the disabilities rights law to implement the provisions of the law and its establishments.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Disability Matters, Barr. Chuks Ezewuzie was appointed Chairman and Executive Director of the Commission, while members of the commission were drawn from the Ministries of Youths, Education and Justice of the state.
Other representative members are Civil societies organization, Religious bodies, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), the Sports sector as well as the organized Private sector.
Announcing the news on Friday in Awka, the state capital, Barr. Ezewuzie expressed joy at the new development in the state. He noted that the approval of the commission was another milestone of the Governor Obiano administration in the state.
Ezewuzie maintained that many projects of the governor had been far enriching to the disabilities community and that Public buildings are becoming disability friendly as private sectors now join the train in making sure that persons with disabilities have accessibility in all public and private building.
According to Ezewuzie, ” the governor has made sure this year that his legacy projects are handicapped friendly. He made sure that the Anambra international conference center and Cargo and Passenger airports are accessible and friendly to the persons with disabilities.
“The governor on December 3, 2021, has officially approved the formation of the disabilities rights commission in accordance with section 3 of the disabilities rights law and has appointed the executive director in accordance with the section 7 of the same law.
“He has also appointed members of the disabilities group into the commission in accordance with the section 4(1) of the disabilities rights law and are expected to commence duties immediately.”
Speaking at the event, State Chairman, Joint National Association Of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), Comrade Ugochukwu Okeke described the appointment on Barr. Chuks Ezewuzie as a step in the right direction.
Comrade Okeke spoke on the significance of the annual event themed: “Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities Towards an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable COVID-19 World ” and expressed need to create enabling environment for the involvement of persons with disabilities in the leadership aspirations of the state.
According to him, “it is critical that all members of the society are able and motivated to participate in civic, social, economic and political activities at any levels. In order to encourage all inclusive participation, there must be equal equity in the distribution of wealth and resources.”
He decried the continued exclusion of persons with disabilities from active participation in the society due to some barriers of physical access to public spaces and oral communication, among others.
He however commended the governor for transforming issues of persons with disabilities in the state from being subject of charity to the object of rights through the enactment of the disabilities rights law and urged the people of the state to compliment the government’s efforts by contributing their quota to the full implementation of the law.
Also speaking, Head of Media Department, Office of the Governor on Disability Matters, Chidimma Ajemba, explained that the intention of the disability rights was to break down barriers to inclusion and fight for the rights of individuals with disabilities.
Ajemba who called for Sustainable and Transformative Progress On Disability Inclusion maintained that about one billion population of persons are with disabilities globally and stated that the commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities will not only yield justice but provide an investment in the future.
The disability community however charged the Anambra State Governor-elect, Prof Charles Soludo to consolidate on the achievements of Governor Willie Obiano on improving the welfare and participation of PWD in the affairs of the state.
Among other demands of the group are the review of retirement age of Persons with disabilities in the civil service, building of ramps in public facilities and structures for easy access, eradication of violence against women and inclusive participation of the disability group in the affairs of the state.
In their goodwill messages, Director of rehabilitation, ministry of women and Children Affairs, Mrs Obianyo Anthonia encouraged the disability group in the state to strive for independence irrespective of the difficulty, while Rule of Law and Anti Corruption State programme Coordinator, Mrs Josephine Onah, urged government and people of the state to work for the effective implementation of the disabilities rights law in the state.