In a bid to protect people living with disability in the state and guarantee their comfort and happiness, the Imo State House of Assembly, is set to pass a bill that seeks to protect persons living with disability into law.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu, stated this yesterday during a courtesy visit by the members of the Ohaneze Disability Forum, an umbrella body for all Igbos living with disability, both at home and in diaspora.
He said that a bill which among other things, seeks to give support and adequate protection to persons with disability in the state has passed its first reading on the floor of the House, assuring that the Assembly under his able leadership would do all within its powers to ensure that the bill was passed into law, receives quick assent from the Governor, as well as total and speedy implementation by the executive arm of the government.
He maintained that when the bill becomes operational, government agencies and parastatals, as well as all public utilities in the state, including financial institutions would be mandated by law, to institute policies which would be favorably disposed to the interests and general well-being of persons living with disability.
The Speaker, however, noted that many people living with disability are intellectuals with God-given potentials, whose treasured wealth of experience could be useful for an enduring society, if properly harnessed, but lamented that such rare opportunities have been allowed to waste in the time past.
He also assured that the present administration in the state would ensure that relevant rights and privileges as regards people with disability are accorded them, adding that he would use his good offices as the Speaker to ensure that one of their members is appointed a permanent secretary in the state civil service.
The Speaker, explained that such gesture??would help reshape the widely held believe of the society whom he said mostly do not see ?ability in disability?, adding that it would also boost the morale of disabled persons and spur them to attain enviable heights, while giving them a sense of belonging in the state.
He further thanked them for identifying with the activities of the Imo State House of Assembly and disclosed that logistics have been put in place for provision facilities that ensure that the newly reconstructed and refurnished Assembly Complex properly accommodates the comfort of persons with disability .
Earlier in his address, the President, Ohanaze Disability Forum, Mr. Paul Ihekwoba, thanked the speaker for his benevolence, love and milk of human kindness to persons living with disability and further urged him not to relent.
He stated that the significance of their visit was to promote the understanding of issues regarding to disability and further mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disability in the state through him to state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
Mr. Ihekwoba, also lamented barriers which he identified to be associated with disabled persons in the society and pointed out that their members were mostly denied access to relevant social services such as education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation, justice, among other things, while calling for a proper legal frame work to enable them have a sense of belonging in the society.
He informed the Speaker that the organization which has a unified voice for the effective contribution of their quota to the socio-political development of the Igbo nation in particular and Nigeria in general, has chosen him as their National Patron, noting that his investiture was based on his noble sense of humility, simplicity, as well as passion to the welfare of persons with disability.
The president further assured the Speaker of the undivided loyalty and total support of persons living with disability in the state towards?his ambition to represent Okigwe zone of the state at the upper chambers of the National Assembly in 2015.