The National Civil Servants Association of Persons with Disabilities (NCSAPWDs) on Friday appealed to the Federal Government to provide special allowance to people living with disabilities to ease their daily challenges.
Dr Samuel Eny-Ebifa, a member of the association, made the appeal in Abuja at a one-day Disability Workshop organised by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in commemoration of the International Day for Persons With Disability (PWDs).
Eny-Ebifa said the allowances would enable them provide their basic needs such as wheelchair and Braille machines computer software which were expensive and not easily affordable for people with disability.
“A person who lost some of the ability or use of some organs of the body is disabled and this makes our daily lives more difficult when it comes to accessing certain services and support.
“We are appealing for a special disability allowance that will go a long way to cushion some of the costs and expense that we make due to our special needs.
“A disability allowance may seem unnecessary to others but it will go a long way to ease major challenges associated with inclusiveness, accessibility and accommodation in terms of a better environment devoid of physical and invisible obstacles to basic human needs,” he said.
He stressed the need for the society to desist from seeing PWDs as misfits, but rather accept them as normal human beings facing certain challenges.
Mrs Osunkoya Olufunke, Director, Human Resources and Management in the ministry, urged Nigerians to give PWDs their rightful place in the society by making conscious efforts to include them and make special provisions for their needs.
“The Federal Government will continue to give PWDs their rightful place because people with special needs deserve to be treated just like everyone else.”
The Convener of the event, Mr Daniel Isiuwe, emphasised the need for the public to understand the challenges of PWDs and give them equal opportunities and treatment.
He also urged their superiors in office to give them work to do just like their other colleagues because they could equally do as much as others if given the chance and opportunity.
“People with disabilities are very intelligent and can compete well if afforded the opportunity free of discrimination; this is our message to all.
“We want more and greater inclusion in the scheme of things because people with disability can achieve great things as we have seen many PWDs such as Dr Ebifa excelling in their various fields,” he said.
Mrs Biboara Yinkere, the convener of Engraced Ones Prayer Support and Advocacy Initiative for Special Needs, urged the public to desist from discriminating against children and people with special needs.
Yinkere, sharing her experiences as a mother with a down’s syndrome child, said many people, especially mothers, see special needs children as a scourge in the society and that should not be so because having certain challenges do not make anyone less human.
“My experience with my daughter’s down syndrome has broadened my mind to the challenges faced by PWDs, especially the way people tend to look at them and how expensive their needs are.
“We spend hundreds of thousands of naira to enrol my daughter on special school and on therapy, so you can imagine how costly it is to get them any form of support.
‘You can also imagine how poor parents are coping with the challenges,” she said.
While giving an exposè on her book, Ability in Disability, Miss Nnenna Alabukwu advised PWDs to see their circumstance as a challenge but should strive to achieve what others can do.