Experts dealing with persons with disability across parts of the country have called on the Nigerian Government to involve People with Disabilities (PWDs) in policy making and interventions applicable to their affairs.
Mrs Treasures Uchegbu, a Sign Language Specialist, representing the group made the call in during a special event to commemorate the 2018 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) held in Ojokoro, Lagos Mainland.
According to her; “Inclusion is progressing in Nigeria and every strata is taking its bit in the process; as disability awareness, orientation and consciousness is raised among the populace. For example, INEC now has a disability desk officer, working and engaging assiduously toward a 2019 election that is inclusive of every person with disability. However, PWDs should be included right from planning phase of every intervention, structure, product, service and or policy.
She continued that; “They should be provided the opportunity for exposure, training and economic opportunities to unleash and harness their innate abilities.
“There is also the need for stakeholders to understand the different disability cluster in PWDs and their specific needs and consideration.”
In addition, Uchegbu further appealed to stakeholders to look beyond the impairment and focus on possibilities of inclusion.
According to her, PWDs should be empowered by making them a part of any or everything that concerned their well-being suggesting that they be provided with requisite skills, training and exposure.
She called on stakeholders to ensure products and services were made accessible and usable, saying that inclusive leverage technology was made available to bridge gaps between the able-bodied and disabled.
Uchegbu also suggested that PWDs be challenged with economic opportunities that would inspire them to be stretched and be productive. She noted that stigmatisation, which was a challenge could be reduced; if parents and family members were encouraged.
“This is also inclusive of the PWDs taking on self-advocacy as a way of living, rather than feel entitled or deprived. When people know better, they will do better.’’ Uchegbu added.