Former presidential candidate, Peter Obi has called on all Nigerians to break all barriers of discrimination against people with disabilities, calling on the government to ensure social inclusion for them.
Obi said this in a Sunday statement to commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today.
He said that in caring for persons with disabilities, the government must ensure that they have access to healthcare and education, which are critical for national development and will ensure that they thrive and fully explore their potential.
“We, as a people, must break all barriers of discrimination against those living with disabilities. We are all differently gifted. The government should also ensure social inclusion for persons with disabilities,” he stated.
He added, “I join other compassionate Nigerians in identifying with and celebrating these differently-abled persons in our midst.
“I join in demanding a better nation for them as fellow compatriots, living with disabilities not by their making.
“Living with disability should not be a death sentence, or society stigmatisation, but should be a platform that calls up the humanity in us as their brothers and sisters,” the former Anambra governor said.
He said it was unfortunate that persons with disabilities feel more the pinch of bad governance that has brought needless hardship to the citizenry.
“The World Health Organisation reports that about 35.1 million persons are living with disabilities in Nigeria.
“Such a significant number of people must be cared for by the government so that they can live their lives in full and contribute positively to the development of the nation,” Obi said.
“In keeping with the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, all public organizations are to reserve at least five percent of employment opportunities for these persons. This will ensure that they are adequately represented in both governance and the public sector.
“Every Nigerian has the potential to contribute to nation-building and we will leave nobody behind in our journey to New Nigeria,” Obi added.