The Director, Center for Entrepreneurship Development, Usman Danfodiyo University, Professor Maryam Koko, has appealed to government at all levels to initiate programmes and policies that would assist Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) and those with special needs to become self-reliant.
Professor Maryam Koko stated this when she spoke as a resource person at a one-day sensitization to commemorate the International Day for Persons Living with Disability organised by Give Care to Young Lives (GYL) in collaboration with the Joint National Association of Person with Disability and sponsored by leprosy Mission in Nigeria, in Sokoto.
According to her, over one billion people are living with disabilities globally, out of which, twenty-seven million of them are in Nigeria and there are people with special needs and not disabled as wrongly perceived by society.
Also speaking on the theme, “Discrimination/Isolation of Persons with Disabilities and the Role of Government”, Professor Maryam urged participants to disabuse their minds from whatever physical challenge they have and see themselves as champions in their respective ways.
She added that those with special needs should therefore eschew the mentality of feeling inferior, as doing so leads to self discrimination and isolation.
In his remarks, Mr Ameh Jerry, the State Coordinator of Give Care to Young Lives (GYL) said those living with disabilities are uniquely gifted and must be appreciated by all and sundry.
Mr Ameh who noted that the majority of them are in that condition not because of their choice, however, appealed to them not to use their conditions as licences for seeking alms rather they should strive to have something doing that can generate incomes for them.
“The subject of people with special needs is not only worrisome but calls for concerted attention.
“No human race, either in the developed, developing and under developed world that is immune to these challenges.
“Though, diverse factors are largely responsible for certain disabilities in human beings.
“For some, the cause might be parental neglect and carelessness on the part of caregivers.
For others, it might be because of accidents and unforeseen catastrophes.
Yet others are better described as God’s making to enable us to honour the creator.
“Not minding the cause, however, these people with Special Needs are undoubtedly very unique.
Their strength is unimaginable.
They are enviable human beings that needs our collective support at all times.
“As the world mark yet another day in celebration of these Special need people, I am, therefore, calling on all and sundry to henceforth eschew all forms of discrimination and isolation of persons with disabilities.
“I am also calling on governments at all levels to initiate programmes and policies that will allow for self-sufficiency and full realization of their potentials.
“As the world celebrates the international day with persons with disabilities today, let’s make them happy, feel loved, and important to their immediate family, communities and the society at large,“ Mr Ameh Jerry added.
University Professor calls for more programmes to assist PLWDs