Provide Wheelchairs, Budget Provision to Aid Members’ Environmental Accessibility, NAPWPD Urges Govts

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The National Association of Persons With Physical Disabilities (NAPWPD) has urged federal and state governments, corporate organisations and wealthy individuals to provide more wheelchairs and budgetary allocations to members to make the environment accessible to them.

Mr Rilwan Mohammed, NAPWPD National President, made the call at a news conference in Lokoja on Friday in celebration of the International Wheelchair Day.

Mohammed said: “Today’s celebration serves as a reminder of how important wheelchairs are to millions of individuals around the world.

“Wheelchairs make a massive difference in a person’s ability to function in the world even though not everyone who needs a wheelchair is able to get one.

“In fact, there are tens of thousands of people around us who need wheelchairs and we are appealing to the government at all levels, corporate organisations and wealthy individuals to see reasons to assist.”

The president noted that the International Wheelchair Day, founded in 2008, was created to raise awareness about the significance of wheelchairs and their positive impact on the lives of individuals with mobility challenges.

According to him, International Wheelchair Day aims to celebrate, raise awareness, and advocate improved accessibility and support for individuals who rely on wheelchairs worldwide.

Its primary focus was on promoting accessibility and inclusivity, highlighting the importance of making the world a more accessible place for all.

He called on state governments to hasten the domestication of disability laws, to safeguard the rights of wheelchair users

The president also called for development of minimum accessibility standard code for the implementation of the law regarding access to the environment.

He further pleaded with government to make budgetary provisions for carrying out necessary modifications and retrofitting of existing buildings.

“That government ensures adherence to building code/minimum accessibility standard and that building control department of states do not approve new buildings that do not comply with the standard.

“Government and indeed the society should make necessary adjustments of the environmental conditions to allow for inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in the life of the community.”

The occasion witnessed the inauguration of a 14-member Kogi State Advocacy Committee of Inclusive Budgeting, to boost activities of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the state.

Mohammed, however, tasked the committee headed by Mr Idris Muraina Ozovehe, Chairperson, Kogi Non-Governmental Networks (KONGONet), to work as a team to bring about the desired results in transforming the living conditions of PWDs.

Muraina thanked the association for finding them worthy to serve the PWDs in such capacity and pledged to live above board to succeed and put a smile on their (PWDs) faces.

However, the occasion was climaxed with the presentation of Certificate Commendation to the Immediate Past Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kogi State Council, Alhaji Momoh Jimoh by the NAPWPD’s President for been the first council in Nigeria to provide a Ramp for PWDs’ easy access.

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