Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Senator makes case for assisting Nigerians with disabilities

From This Day with news from Africa:

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory , Senator Anthony Agbo, (PDP Ebonyi North) Aug. 24 enjoined governments at all levels to show concern for persons with disabilities, expressing dismay that such class of people had been left in their ruins.

Speaking to newsmen in Abakaliki, barely two weeks after he organized a summit for the physically challenged in Abuja , he tasked both governments and organized bodies to always give considerations to the physically challenged in everything they do especially in the constructions of public buildings that are to be used by both the able and disabled alike.

Agbo who is the patron of the National Association of Persons with Disabilities, disclosed that the body was already putting up a blueprint on the type of assistance they require from public spirited individuals and government, adding that assisting the needy tallies with biblical injunctions.

"We are going to establish the association (for the disabled) in every state, teach them how to read and write, that is for the deaf and dumb, just to remove from them the stigma of their disability, even those with mental disabilities, the mad people on the streets are going to be part of the group because they are disabled," he said.

One reason why he decided taking on such philanthropy, Senator Agbo said: "It is a religious duty of being a brother's keeper. I feel concerned on them and it was not just a social function but a religious responsibility as one who worships his God. I have always been concerned on how the disabled people are forgotten and stigmatized as if they committed heinous crimes.

"I was also moved by the inaction of governments and organizations that make no considerations for them, especially in buildings. They are left to street begging and we want to see if they can develop their own talents and skill through sensitization to help them realize their God-given special gifts."

The Senator stated that the disabled organization will use the four acres of land that has been promised by the FCT minister in Abuja to erect a skills acquisition and welfare centre.

"I have made up my mind on this mission, whether as a Senator or not, I will continue to assist the disabled, it was designed from the spirit but we are hopeful that both the private and public sectors will assist us," Agbo promised.