(SURE-P Report) – “The Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) maybe going into partnership with the Searchlight of Hope Foundation to further the course of People Living with Disabilities (PWD),” the Convener on Communication, Chike Okongwu told a delegation from the Searchlight of Hope Foundation who paid him a courtesy call recently to seek for areas of collaboration to further the course of PWD.
Chike Okongwu on behalf the SURE-P Committee on People Living with Disability expressed his appreciation to President GoodLuck Jonathan for appointing a person with disability on the Subsidy-Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme Committee.
He also said that this has given him the opportunity as the Convener on Railways to ensure that railway stations are re-designed to give accessibility to people with disabilities. According to him, ramps have been provided by the Minister of Transport at all railway stations.
Chike Okongwu added that issues of people with disabilities need to be brought to the front burner. “The deaf need sign language at every event and the blind need brail for balloting,” he said. He lamented that the Bill for people with disability is still pending in the National Assembly because of the ‘Commission’ clause which he believes is inevitable if the right of people with disabilities is to be well protected.
“PWD has six people in the ongoing Constitutional Conference and two of the twenty five women in the conference are people with disabilities,” he noted. He further called on the organization to set up a program and give timelines as well as dates for implementation; advising the foundation to put up a programme for him to pass to the chairman.
While thanking them for appreciating the plight of people with disability, the Convener, observe the need for creative ways of generating funds.
The Deputy Coordinator of the Search of Hope Foundation, Michael Umeh in his remarks averred that their organization intends to liaise with SURE-P to promote the interest of people with disability as well as promote good governance practices.
He added that their aim is to institutionalize the legal framework that would promote people with disability legally, economically and socially; saying 20% of Nigerian population which is about 22 million is physically disabled. “We want to work with SURE-P to promote them in the society and we want to make them live a normal life without discrimination,” he indicated.
The Searchlight of Hope Foundation Coordinator challenged the Nigerian Government to provide special ballot papers for the blind in the 2015 elections as obtains in Ghana.
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