Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Group appeals to Jonathan to sign Disability Bill

Persons with Disabilities (PWD), a group of Nigerians living with various forms of disabilities, have appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to assent to the Nigeria Disability Bill before the end of his present tenure.

Patrick Adie, the South-South Coordinator of the group, made the appeal on Monday in Abuja. The bill, which was passed and harmonised by both chambers of the National Assembly in 2010, is awaiting presidential assent.

Adie said the bill would go a long way in catering to the general welfare of all physically challenged people in the country if passed into law. “We have been calling on our president because he is our only hope for now,” he said. “We have been calling on him to assent to our bill because without the bill, all our efforts in the past years to come up with this bill will be in vain.
Our appeal is that he should please consider us. The only way that he can reach every person with disability in this country is to assent to our bill before May 29. My appeal on behalf of everyone with disability is that, please, Mr. President, assent to our bill. That is the only way you can pay us for supporting you.

Adie claimed that the different rallies staged by persons with disabilities in different states in the South South zones, accounted for a good number of votes for the president.

He said an association, ‘Persons with Disabilities Movement for President Goodluck Jonathan 2011’, a campaign group, was formed to gain support for President Jonathan’s re-election. He added that the campaign rallies, which were the first set of rallies for Jonathan in Calabar, headquarters of the group, spurred even the “able’’ persons to vote.

“The turnout of persons with disability during this election to vote Mr President was historical,” he said. “By that, he should know that we have a lot of expectations from him. Some of them that have never come up in a very long time, were struggling to queue up. I believe the reason why Cross River State got 100 per cent vote for President Jonathan should be as a result of the rally that persons with disabilities staged here in Calabar.’’

Adie said the association also monitored the treatment of its members across the South-South states to ensure that they were not marginalised. He noted that the reports from each of the state proved that persons with disabilities were well treated and we came out en-masse to vote for the president.

“So we are also calling on him to remember us,” he said. “And the only way he can compensate us for coming together and pulling our resources, and our time in his support is to assent to our bill.”

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