Mrs Lois Auta, Founder of the CEDAR SEED Foundation, on Friday called for the creation of position of Special Adviser to the President on People with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria.
Auta made the suggestion in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Abuja.
She said that the position was imperative to address the pressing needs of People with Disabilities in the country.
The PWDs rights advocate, who reiterated the need for such office, said it would bring demands of people with Disabilities to the attention of the President.
“We need the office of Special Adviser on PWDs because it will serve as link between the presidency and disability community,” Auta said.
According to her, it always seems as a tokenism or doing a favour for disabled people. Our rights should be given to us, not based on charity.
Auta called on Nigerians to begin to appreciate and focus on the abilities or strength of People with Disabilities rather than their weaknesses and disabilities.
“My message to Nigerians is to focus on our abilities not disabilities, see the person not the challenge.”
The CEDAR SEED President, however, called for mandatory education of people with disabilities for a greater nation.
She explained that education was vital in the empowerment of people with disabilities anywhere in the world especially Nigeria.
“Engage people with disabilities positively with job employment to enable them to contribute their quota to nation building.”
Edited & Vetted By: Donald Ugwu
Lawyer advocates leadership training for youths
An Ilorin based legal practitioner, Mr Suleiman Ahmed, has advocated the need for the training of youths on leadership skills to help reposition Nigeria’s future.
Ahmed, who spoke in Ilorin on Saturday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , agreed that youth’s development remain critic in nation building.
He said it has become necessary for Nigeria youths to be equipped with leadership skills in order to do things differently from the past.
“Bad leadership in the past has put Nigeria in a serious mess. Our youths should be shown the way to manage the God’s given abundant resources at hand.
“Nigeria is blessed, but we have people in the past, who lacked those leadership skills in the corridors of power.
“With proper orientation and leadership training for the youths, we can get it right and place the country on the right path.
“We cannot afford to make the same mistakes of our past leaders. We cannot claim to be giant of Africa and see our people dying of hunger and poverty,”he said.
The legal practitioner however called on NGOs and the three tiers of governments to ensure leadership training were organised for the youths.
He advised that the future of the country is at stake if the youths are left out and not well prepared and equipped for leadership position.
“We cannot allow the youths to emulate the past trend. We want them to do things differently and safe the future of the country,”he said.
He also advised Nigerian leaders to stop being selfish, show love and care for the people for them to be proud of their country.
Edo Election: Obaseki queues up to vote
The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, on Saturday followed the prescribed electoral process by standing on the queue to be accredited, before casting his vote.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Obaseki arrived his Oredo Ward 4 Polling Unit at Emokpae Model Primary School, Benin City at about 10:25am.
Mr Church Haris, a voter at the Governor’s Polling Unit in Oredo Ward 4 commended the governor for following the election procedure.
“I was amazed that he took a position on the queue.
“He surprised many voters in this ward. We are proud of him,’’ he said.
Rita Osahon, who also voted at the polling unit, similarly commended the governor for staying on the queue to cast his vote.
Sylvester Okoduwa, an official of the Transition Monitoring Group, an election NGO, commended the peaceful commencement of the electoral process in the Edo state capital.
He said the election had started on a peaceful note and the voters wore their face masks, observed the social distancing rule, and also washed their hands in compliance to the COVID-19 protocols.
Edo is voting to elect a governor to run its state affairs for the next four years.
The state has a total of 2, 210,534 registered voters in 18 local government areas with 192 wards.
Edited By: Constance Imasuen/Idonije Obakhedo
Edo election: Carry people with disabilities along — CCD
Center for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a non-governmental organisation, has raised concern on the absence of a disability law and the non adoption and domestication of the National Disability Act 2018.
Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director of the group, said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.
Anyaele said that the group was worried that Edo had remained among others who had yet to adopt and domesticate the National Disability Act’ making them most vulnerable to all negative vices
He, however, urged the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure equal voting access for all voters, especially Person’s with Disabilities (PWDs) in Edo governorship election slated for Sept. 19.
“INEC has assured us that it would ensure PWDs are provided with, priority voting, signage poster on election process at polling units, access for personal sign language interpreters for deaf voters, and accessible polling units among other provisions.
“But we are worried that Edo is one of the states that has yet to adopt the National Disability Act, hence it remains one of the most hostile states against PWDs.
“However, we urge INEC to live up to its words by implementing the framework on access and participation of PWDs in the electoral process by ensuring equal access at polling units.
“Also, priority voting for PWDs, and mobilisation of volunteer sign language interpreters to assist the deaf, and support the blind voters,” he said.
He appealed to INEC to implement the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, in particular section 1, 3, 26 and 30 which provides for the removal of all forms of barriers against PWDs participation in electoral processes.
Anyaele also urged INEC to ensure that its ad hoc staff at polling units captures voters with disabilities using form EC40H and also to gather vital data of PWDs for future election planning.
He said that the organisation has trained and deployed its observers for the election to the three senatorial district in the state.
He called for collaboration among inter-agency consultative committee on election security to minimise all forms of electoral violence.
“We are concerned that security issue has been a matter of serious concern to the residence of the state and especially to PWDs, hence any mismanagement of security may jeopardise voter turn out for PWDs,” he said.
He appealed to PWDs not to lose faith in the electoral process, but to come out to cast their votes for the candidates of their choice in the off-cycle election.
He also appealed to PWDs to ensure to observe all necessary COVI-19 protocols for their on safety and wellness.
Edited By: Kayode Olaitan
NGO calls for increased awareness to address VVF prevalence in Nigeria
Its Programme Officer, Mrs Tolulope Ajayi, told the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos that VVF “is a preventable calamity, which has been an age-long menace in developing countries”.
Vesicovaginal fistula, a tear from the bladder to the vagina, is one of the most serious gynaecological problems found in Hausa and Fulani women in northern Nigeria.
Its prevalence is associated with a high frequency of cephalopelvic disproportion resulting in difficult deliveries and birth injuries.
Ajayi said Nigeria has the highest prevalence of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) in the world with between 400,000 and 800,000 women living with the problem, out of the two million cases recorded globally.
According to her, of about 20,000 new cases occurring annually, 90 per cent of the cases go untreated.
“This implies that about 55 women are infected by Vesico Vaginal Fistula and 18,000 cases are untreated daily.
“In Nigeria alone, 800,000 to one million women are estimated to be awaiting repair. The annual obstetric fistula incidence is estimated at 2.11 per 1000 births.
“It is more prevalent in Northern Nigeria than Southern Nigeria. Obstetric fistula accounts for 84.1 per cent to 100 per cent of the Vesicovaginal fistula and prolonged obstructed labour is consistently the most common cause (65.9%-96.5%),” she said.
Ajayi said that increased awareness that the condition could result from birth injury was obviously desirable, particularly among women, whose health is directly affected by it.
She said that since men were the major decision-makers, it was also important that they receive information on the subject.
“Women who suffer vesicovaginal fistula patients, as a result of childbirth or cuts made by midwives, have to face a life of emotional and physical incapacity.
“It is essential to prevent the condition in a society where health services are scarce.
“The first step should be to make communities aware of how this can be achieved through health education programmes for both men and women.
“Provision of access to affordable quality healthcare by victims of vesico-vaginal Fistula. Provision of free education to indigent young girls,” she said.
Ajayi said that certain birth practices also caused the condition.
“Traditional midwives, when treating prolonged obstructed labour and numerous other problems of women, may cut into the vagina (the gishiri cut) and in some cases create a tear between the vagina and bladder.
“Sociocultural factors play an important role in placing women at risk of the condition, in particular, the early marriage of girls, a custom defended on the ground that it prevents premarital sex and unwanted pregnancies.
“Unfortunately, girls are predisposed to vesicovaginal fistula, if they marry at extremely young ages, because they are likely to become pregnant long before their bodies have reached a stage of maturity consistent with safe delivery.
“Unskilled birth attendance and late presentation to the health facilities is also a contributory factor to vesico-vaginal fistula.
“Perhaps the greatest barrier to preventing vesicovaginal fistula is the ignorance among villagers of the danger of unsupervised delivery in women at risk. In rural communities, people know little about health,” she said.
The CEWHIN programme officer said economic factors also serve as a disincentive to the use of modern health facilities for prenatal, delivery, and postnatal care.
“Hospitals are often located in urban areas and for people with extremely limited resources it is expensive to travel to them from remote villages.
“Some hospitals do not have sufficient capacity to admit all pregnant women and they were poorly equipped and staffed.
“Another risk factor is the low status of women. Married women are allowed out of the household only in exceptional circumstances, such as a death in the family or severe illness.
“Education for girls is given low priority. Wives are excluded from important decision-making, and their husbands often choose not to send them for medical care at government hospitals because most of the doctors are men,” Ajayi said.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Olagoke Olatoye