By Ibrahim Tukur
Persons with disability, otherwise known as differently-abled individuals, encounter immense challenges that leave them at the mercy of socioeconomic underdevelopment. Due to their disabilities, they often struggle to survive. Those with profound physical challenges, especially blindness, spinal cord, leprosy, and cerebral palsy, cannot but resort to financial dependency to survive.
Consequently, street begging, considered taboo in some societies, is rampant among persons with a disability thanks to the lack of governmental and societal support towards the welfare of persons with disability.
Apart from persons with hearing impairment, most persons with a disability depend on begging to survive as they are not physically fit to do some work. What is more worrisome, to say the least, is the fact that many persons with disability family men struggle to ensure end meets. Some would have to go to big cities where people are more charitable to do begging and return home as soon as they are financially well-off.
In some cities like Lagos and Abuja, where many persons with disability make substantial income, the ban on street begging has been imposed. Thus, the sources of livelihood of these people are adversely affected.
Although street begging is a condemnable offence, the imposition of such a ban without proffering any practical solution to the problem is seriously unfair, and almost cruel.
Even though this lingering problem can be resolved by establishing Social Security Disability Benefits, the needs of persons with disability can not be totally satisfied, thanks to Nigeria’s economic feeble.
All persons with disabilities need education and skills to become financially, economically and intellectually independent. Disability is no longer a barrier to education since the inception of special education in Nigeria in the middle of the nineteenth century.
The government of all levels should do everything possible to make education accessible for all persons with disability. Many special schools should be constructed and well-equipped with special instruments and materials.
Parents with children with disabilty should do the needful by sending them to school where they will acquire sound knowledge that will enable them to turn their disabilities into abilities.
Education is compulsory for all persons with disability. When all persons with disability are educated, life will become easy for them. They won’t have to roam on the street begging. Even if they are unemployed, they can start their own business and get as much money as they like.
Ibrahim Tukur is a 400-level deaf student at Bayero University, Kano. He is a disability rights advocate and proponent of deaf children’s education. He wrote via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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