The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki has called for the creation of enduring structures and reforms that guarantee persons with disabilities better chance for expression, economic empowerment, and self-fulfilment.
The governor said it would take active participation of governments, rights groups, and public-spirited private citizens to collaborate in building a society where persons with disabilities will live life to the fullest, supported with policies, laws and other social and economic enablers necessary to achieve their aims and aspirations.
Obaseki said this yesterday in Benin City, the Edo State Capital, on the occasion of the commemoration of the United Nations International Day of Disabled Person, celebrated annually on December 3.
According to the governor, “Much as there is a global effort to create an environment that gives everyone the fair chance at realising their potential, we must make a case for persons living with disabilities in Nigeria and the world at large.
“This is because much as we would say that everyone has equal chance to compete, we must make sure to create an environment that ensures that those with disabilities, especially those with special needs, are provided with requisite support structures in terms of policies and institutional reforms to have a fair chance at life.”
Calling for collaboration to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, he said, “In specific terms, there is need for partnerships that provide for their special needs in education, economic empowerment, support structures and special need-focused research initiatives that speak to the peculiar needs of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.”
He said the society would be better off when persons with disabilities are given fair opportunities to participate in economic and social activities.
Obaseki urged civil society and charitable organisations to continue to complement governments efforts at providing the desired opportunities for persons with disabilities.
According to the United Nations, the annual observance of the Day for Disabled Persons, proclaimed in 1992, by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3, aims at promoting awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.