Covid-19 and Abians with Disabilities: Appeal to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State
This is to appeal to Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu not to leave Abians with disabilities behind in the distribution of relief materials to less privileged residence of the State. Persons with disabilities are the worst affected as a result of the lockdown occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic.
The government of Abia State plans to distribute bags of rice, beans, garri, tubers of yam as well as sanitizers and face masks to less privileged residence of the State starting from today.
This appeal is very important as Abia State has a history of discrimination, exclusion, srtigmatization and isolation of Abians with disabilities in democratic governance.
To understand how bad the situation of Abians with disabilities is, it might interest you to know that the former Abia State Governor denied assent to Abia State disability bill, an indirect endorsement of harmful practices against more than 600,000 Abians with disabilities.
For the past 3 years no Abian with sight impairment has been sent to Nigeria Farm Craft Centre for the Blind for rehabilitation by the State Government. Whereas, other States are taking their slots by sending their blind citizens to the centre for rehabilitation.
Governor Ikpeazu stated that the strategy is to distribute the relief items which include groups and association but silent on organizations of persons with disabilities. This has been the pattern of exclusion and isolation of Abians with disabilities in democratic governance in Abia State since its foundation.
Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) would be monitoring the extent of access and inclusion of Abians with disabilities in the distribution of these relief materials. It is our interest to document and dissemination our findings to local and international organisations working on democratic governance, international development co-operation, human rights and disability issues with the view of attracting policy attention to the long neglected issue of the rights of persons with disabilities.
David O. Anyaele