By Abubakar Umar Gbs
Let me start with these questions: Who among you has ever included people with disabilities in their empowerment programs? Who among you has ever offered a single person with a disability a job? Who among you has ever appointed a person with a disability as his aide? Finally, who among you has ever sponsored their basic diploma, NCE, or undergraduate program?
Since the 2015 election, Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the said region have suffered negligence from you even though they voted for you like everyone else. You do not consider them for empowerment, job provisions, educational supports, and so on. For basic education, many of their parents cannot take them to the only deaf school in Hadejia because of their physical location. There is no school for the blinds in the region, making it difficult for parents of blind children to take their children to school. The cripples, too, suffer going to school because of the absence of tricycles or other accessibility measures.
Please note that their defects made them require special needs, which means they should be given ‘special’ consideration in all aspects. Their needs should equitably be granted. They require inclusion, equal treatment, but this is not the case in the region as “those not in need are given more than those in need” or “those not in need are given what those in need needed the most.”
At this time, we have many PwDs from all over the region who have qualifications doing some handwork and are expecting jobs because their impairment may affect them doing other self-employed jobs. Some want to start a business but do not have the capital to kickstart. Some have hidden talents but do not dare to put them into practice or are being discriminated against in government and private companies, making them wait for government jobs which you (politicians) have the opportunity to offer them.
There is one disabled lady who completed her NCE 5 years ago, but until now, she hasn’t secured any job or any seed capital to start a business as she complained.
Where are all those offers you are giving your people? Where are all those empowerment packs you are giving to your people? Did you know how it feels to have a defect in any body part? What if one of your children has a defect?
Imagine the son of less privileged parents with physical defects. They are citizens who have equal rights to education, health, and human rights. Sometimes, you will ask for what belongs to you from a serving leader like you, but you will be labelled a beggar. How can someone beg for what belongs to him? You begged them for votes that don’t belong to you but themselves and took them for granted after that. Their exclusion in campaigns has reasons as we can’t expect crippled men to take their bikes or join campaigners to go far and campaign. In the meantime, you can expect a blind man to do so too, so the deaf has his limitations.
Every citizen, irrespective of disability, race, tribe, or religion, deserves to be treated equally as per the constitution. Also, traditionally, persons with disabilities have equal rights, even if not constitutional. They have 100% rights, and that should be respected.
We know how well you perform, but the ‘well’ is not enough until you put PwDs’ rights on top of the agenda because society needs them. If they are neglected, they retort to some odd jobs to survive life which I don’t see their mistakes.
Abubakar Umar Gbs sent the letter via email@example.com.