By: Danjuma Attah, Gombe
The proposal by the Gombe State Government to establish a law to address stigmatisation, discrimination and other negetive attitudes towards people living with disabilities is already exciting members of the Joint National Association of People Living With Disabilities (JONAPWD) in the State.
The State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya had in a press statement through his Chief media aid, Ismaila Uba Misilli, to mark this year’s World Disabilities Day, said efforts are underway to establish an agency to cater for the unique needs and welfare of people with disabilities.
In the statement, the Governor promised that “a bill which will seek to create this agency has received the full attention and support of this administration”, pledging that, “upon it’s submission and passage by the State House of Assembly, I will expedite it’s enactment into law to ensure that the voices and concerns of PWD’s are comprehensively addressed”.
However, during their own activity to celebrate the 2023 World Disabilities Day with a plan to match to the Government House for a ‘thank you’ rally, they shelved the match because the Governor was mourning the death of a prominent politician in the State.
They however assembled at their office in Kasuwan Mata quarters to receive speeches, talk to themselves and pray for the State Government and also continue to appeal to the Governor to accelerate the passing of the bill for the protection of their rights.
Chairman, Gombe State chapter of JONAPWD, Mr Ishiyaku Adamu while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of their celebration at Kasuwan Mata, expressed the members happiness over the proposed bill.
He said, “the Governor had personally called us that he was ready to receive us but for the unfortunate death of the Chairman of Gombe Local Government Area and we understand the situation”.
According to him, it is a big step forward in terms of promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in Gombe State adding that it is timely considering the theme for this year which is “United in action to rescue and achieve the sustainable development goals for, with and by persons with disabilities”.
Expressing his members delight, he said, “you can see that we are having some laws and policy, especially at the national level that will help us.
“Even at the State level, we can see the press release by the Governor on 3rd December, 2023, which is the actual day of the celebration. He promised that he is going to pass the State Disability Act and he is going to establish a commission that will cater for the interest of persons with Disabilities in the State which we disabled persons have never heard it that a Governor himself will make a press release commemorating the day for us. So for us it’s a big step forward”, he gladly said.
Speaking on their acceptability in the society, Mr Ishiyaku said, “we are making progress”, but noted that more needs to be done in terms of acceptability and removing barriers for people with disabilities.
He said, “we are still grappling with some issues, discrimination, a lot of our members are facing that and we have challenges in terms of accessing education, health and other employment opportunities for our people”.
The International Day of People Living With Disability was set aside in 1992 by the United Nations to celebrate the rights and Independence of people living with disabilities all over the World.