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Physically challenged workers lament marginalisation

A cross section of physically challenged applicants and workers have alleged that despite the new Disability Rights Act, which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari…

A cross section of physically challenged applicants and workers have alleged that despite the new Disability Rights Act, which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on 23 January 2019, they are still being discriminated against by employers of labour.

The President of the Union, Comrade Godstime Onyebulam, who has a post graduate degree, said despite the Act, which stipulates that all employers of labour in public organisation shall, as much as possible, have persons with disabilities constituting at least five percent of their employment, they have not benefited.

In an interview with Daily Trust, he called on the government to look into their demands.

There’s a law which says, all employers of labour in public places should constitute at least 5 percent of employment for the physically challenged, have you enjoyed that?

Well, when it comes to employment for the physically challenged persons in Nigeria, it has not been easy at all despite the new disability rights act that was signed by the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari last year, January 23. So many government agencies find it difficult to implement that Act. We have written to so many of them, we have taken a peaceful demonstration to them and yet we are still finding it very difficult.

Though some agencies like the National Space Research Development Agency, (NARSDA) responded when they recruited last year. Also, Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) responded this year. We are looking up to National information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and FIRS to do something positive soon.

We are taking our crusade to their door steps, so that they will not claim that they are not aware of the new Act. We are letting them know that we exist, we have graduates that could fit in all of their request. We are fully qualified.

In terms of educational benefits, have you benefitted any sponsorships?

Well, I know some of them went through MTN scholarship, some went through Chevron scholarship, outside these I don’t know. I don’t think any has gone through the government scholarship. I am not sure; I don’t think any has gone. I never enjoyed any of those things during my university days, though I lost my sight after graduation in 2010 in a car accident and a medical error.

What are the challenges faced by the physically challenged applicants, workers in Nigeria?

If the government can actually push the implementation of this act especially for employing graduates because it’s frustrating after going to school, maybe being sponsored by family, friends, parents and help from other places; you’ll come out from school and there will be no employment for you. If the government could really see to how this could be implemented, I think it will go a long way. Also, we have a challenge of mobility, if the government can assist us with a bus, it will make mobility easy for us; it will go a long way, we are not being funded by any organisation. We have our union; that is being funded by its members by their little contributions, and they don’t stay in FCT, they come from different states.


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