The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has lamented the living conditions of Nigerians living with disabilities.
In a statement on Sunday via his X handle to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Obi decried the discrimination and hardship faced by those living with disabilities in Nigeria and called for better support for them.
He said living with a 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.
Obi urged the federal and state governments to ensure access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities for those with disabilities. He also called on fellow citizens to play their part in creating a more inclusive society for those with disabilities.
He wrote: “As the world commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities today, 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 a disability should not be a death sentence or society stigmatization, but should be a platform that calls up the humanity in us as their brothers and
“It’s unfortunate that in our clime where good governance is hard to come by, leading to needless hardship, those living with disabilities in our midst feel the pinch more as life becomes more difficult for them.
“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
“In caring for persons living with disabilities, the government must ensure that they have access to healthcare and education, which are not only critical for national development, but will ensure that they thrive and fully explore their potentials.
“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 living with disabilities. In keeping with the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, all public organizations are to reserve at least five per cent 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 on our journey to New Nigeria.”