By Asmau Ahmad with NAN Report
Lagos, Dec. 4, 2014: Some people with disabilities (PWDs) said on Thursday that they were facing such challenges as stigma and mobility in the society. They made this known in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. A para-athletics coach, Mr Patrik Anaeto, therefore, urged the public to change its attitude toward persons living with disabilities and accept them for what they were. “The major challenge we face (has to do with) people around us. They do not accept you as a normal human being; they always look at you as somebody they should pity. The right thing to do is for people to accept the physically challenged for what they are and not for who they want them to be.”
A para-power lifting athlete, Mrs Ijeoma Iherobiem, told NAN that mobility was a challenge as some persons living with disabilities found it discouraging to move from one point to another because of the attitude of some members of the public. Iherobiem, therefore, urged government at all levels to do what was necessary to change the situation for them. “It has not been easy for persons with disabilities to move from one place to another in terms of transportation because sometimes the drivers are in a haste to move on, and they are not patient enough to allow somebody with disability to enter. And sometimes a vehicle will be in motion and you find people jumping in, something a person with disabilities cannot do. For the taxis, when disabled people stop them to enter, they look at your condition and if they see that it will not be easy for you to enter, they give you a higher price. And by so doing, disabled people find it very difficult to cope with their situation in terms of mobility. My advice to the government is that it should make available bus stops and let the uniformed people to control the places so that when vehicles stop they will give attention to disabled people first,” she said.
Also speaking with NAN, an amputee football player, Mr Ugochukwu Obieze, urged Non-Governmental Organizations, civil society groups and religious bodies to support persons with disabilities in any way they could. Obieze said that such persons were talented in various fields including sports.
“We are pleading with Nigerians, churches, non-governmental organizations; let them find out what our challenges are. We are not begging them for any other thing; we are only asking them to support us with that little thing they are used to giving us so that we can help ourselves. It is for all of us in Nigeria,” he stated.