From Francis Nansak
Nasarawa state government in recent time delved into the rehabilitation of physically challenged persons through the establishment of policies and law that could boost the morale of these category of persons pursuant to leveraging the right of the physically challenged in order to help them contribute their quarter on National development and economic enhancement that could add value to their life.
In this direction, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura through advocacy and the creation of functionable modern infrastructures, also won the support of the legislators for a law that supported the establishment of the Disability Right Commission as an agency that would be funded by the state government.
The governor’s drive for inclusive governance left no stone unturned as he embarked on very vital advocacy role among his colleagues, private individuals and organisations at both National and international levels. He did not stop at advocacy lectures alone but was himself exemplary of what he preaches with the establishment of an academic arena to educate and train this category of persons to be able to function at par with other citizens who are seen to be able members of the society.
Unarguably, this measure to have the physically disadvantaged persons discover their ability in disability was a venture long neglected by previous governments with no law supporting them neither were they captured in the annual budget as a mark of fending for them, given their natural disposition which set them against certain privileges enjoyed by other citizens.
Given this background and the excrutiating poverty rate and sometimes nuisance the disabled person are forced to go through and the absolute discomfort they bear for negligence of government despite their contributions during elections that produce representatives at the local councils, states and even at the federal levels, Governor Al-Makura in his show of love and concern through his inclusive policy deem it fit that government largesse be extended to them.
Governor Al-Makura in one of the state functions at the Government House, Lafia, said that his administration was determined and committed to prove to the people that physical-disability is not a barrier to a willing soul. The governor even described himself a disabled person.
He said that he believed the physically-challenged like the blind, dumb, deaf, lame and any other form of impiredness have a right to live, develop their skills and engage in productive ventures to earn a living.
He said it was in that respect that the comprehensive special school, was established to take care of all categories of people with disabilities for both genders to ensure that every disabled person in the state was fully incorporated.
According to him “The comprehensive special school will be able to care for all categories of people with disabilities, all genders, ages; so you can see that the variables are so many and that is why the challenges are enormous. We have to make the functions of the building in accordance with the different kind of disabilities.
“We have got all the furniture that are supposed to be in this school which is meant for those who can sit on the chairs, we have different kinds of furniture that will carter for (even) disability with down syndrome” he said.
“We have already placed orders from universities in America which is the center of excellence in this areas. We have also contacted other countries with specialists in disabilities and we are going to access the equipments and teaching aids, we are recruiting nannies, caretakers, day takers in all the classrooms, we are also going to recruit a resident medical doctor and five nurses with full fledged laboratory, a clinic that can admit up to 12 persons within the school”, he said.
So far, the Disability Bill which is an executive bill has been passed into law to established a commission that will promote and protect the right of persons living with disability in Nasarawa state as allocations from the annual appropriated budget will no longer exempt those physically challenged.
Speaking on the advantages of the bill to the state especially the disabled, Mr Benjamin Nyitamen said the advantages are enormous and a welcome development for all citizens as this will mean that the welfare of the physically challenged will be well protected.
He said that the enactment of the law and the initiative of the Governor to established the Commission was a plus to the state being the first to have such law by legislative backing. It then means that the commission will souly have no function than ensuring the welfare of the physically challenged who now are fully integrated as members of the society with the rights to be cartered for.
He also added that as a law, every government that comes to power in Nasarawa state, will always ensure that a certain percentage from the federal allocation is aloted to that commission for onward distribution to the individual beneficiaries (physically challenged) saying the implementation on full scale would go a long way to give them a future.
Nansak sent this piece from Lafia, Nasarawa state