Fri. Dec 9th, 2022

Maureen Okpe

The European Union (EU) have restated the commitment to support Persons With Disability (PWD) in Nigeria to ensure inclusion.

EU Embassador to Nigeria, Samuela Isopi made this known during a courtesy visit on Thursday, to The Albino Foundation(TAF) in Abuja.

Isopi reiterated that, the synergy between the EU and the foundation will accentuate inclusivity as well as the accessibility of human right to PWD in Nigeria to create a difference from the norm.

She said, “to demonstrate our support to the albino Foundation, and to all of you we state our commitment to continue to work together for greater inclusion in Nigeria.

“You know that human rights inclusivity is something which is very much part of the DNA of the European Union.

“This is the values on which the European Union is founded. And this is why the promotion of these values is also something which is always at the center of what we do, in our partner countries.

“The right of persons with disability is also one of the seven priorities which have been defined and our new human rights and democracy country strategy for Nigeria. We know how important your contribution to the society is, we know how important it is not to leave anyone behind and we will continue to work to together.

Speaking on the electoral process, the Ambassador stated that, “We have been working together to promote greater inclusion in the electoral process. As you know, this was one of the key recommendations of the European Union Election Observation Mission.

“To be more precise is the recommendation number 30 of the final report, which indicates that parties be legally required to have policies on the political participation of persons with disabilities and also require INEC to provide devices in all polling units and information in accessible formats.

“We have seen important improvements, but the journey  remains long. And we will continue this journey together. You can continue to count on us to be your partner in this long journey,” she said.

Former Director TAF, Jake Ekpelle reiterated that the foundation has made concerted efforts for the inclusion of PWD in the political structures.

According to Ekpelle,”We are targeting to have atleast 100 million PWD in electable offices, and also make it possible to vote.

“Although we are not where we want to be but we have made giant stride as this is the first time we are having 11 PWDs in the ballot, we believe we can do more as we plan on taking advocacy to the grassroots in local governments.”

On his part, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons With Disability (NCPWD), James Lalu lamented that,  “the major issues of PWD in Nigeria is the issue of accessibility as when this is made available,you will see that they are intelligent.”

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