Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Anambra State Gov't to incorporate the needs of Physically challenged persons and destitute in 2015 budget

Okechukwu Onuegbu

To supplement Governor Willie Obiano’s efforts to forestall beggary on the streets of Anambra, two Local Government Areas in the state have mapped-out plans to integrate the needs of physically challenged persons in 2015 budget, and to also absorb qualified disabled in the local government service commission.
Similarly, the council areas agreed to provide enabling environment for the persons living with disabilities and destitute to realize their dreams through scholarship, empowerment and well-equipped skilled acquisition or rehabilitation centers.
The third tiers of government as unveiled at the end of interface meeting with stakeholders and government officials organized by the members of Care for the Physically Challenged and Destitute Foundation (CAPCADF) were Anambra-West and Orumba-North Local Government Areas.
CAPCADF, a-Non Governmental Organization founded by Mrs. Gloria Nwafor, a successful physically challenged person who fights against victimization and discrimination of destitute and disabled, earlier this year, selected and approached the respective council executives and lawmakers to advocate for inclusion of the persons living with disabilities in governance, policy making, civil service commission and budgetary formulation and allocation.
During the respective visits, the organization presented demands of the often ostracized special citizens as compiled by their national body; Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) to include education scholarship; provisions of special education facilities for visual impaired, hearing aids for the hearing impaired and skill acquisition centers with qualified special teachers; land and subsidized agricultural materials and seedlings to ensure mass production of food; provision of micro-credit facilities for the farmers among them, employment opportunities and free medical care services for their colleagues at the grass root level.
However, speaking at the respective interface meeting, Mrs. Gloria Nwafor, Director of CAPCADF, explained that the meeting was aimed at presenting the data and contacts of disabled persons within the two local government areas with a view to making them easily accessible to their government officials and NGOs when the need arises for provision of capacity support, sharing development information, monitoring and evaluation of projects and passing constructive recommendations that will be adopted to ensure a strong budgetary allocations to them, as well as to produce a communiqué which would serve as a permanent working document for persons with disabilities.
Receiving the report at Anambra West local government area, the council Chairman, Hon. Simon Onuorah assured that 2015 budget and subsequent ones to be formulated in the council would be structured to carter for the needs of disabled among them, adding that his administration was willing to better the lives of its citizenry indiscriminately.
In the same vein, Chairman, Orumba-North council area, Hon. Okey Enekwe; represented by Hon. Afam Ogbaji, a-Supervisory Councillor for Education and Social Welfare, disclosed that 35% civil servants working in the various ministries in the local government civil service commission including the Head of Social Welfare Department are physically challenged persons, visual and hearing impaired.
Also, the two local government executives and legislatures reiterated their readiness to partner with CAPCADF in championing the aspirations of the special citizens in the state up to State Government level and beyond.
Contributing; HRH Igwe Ralph Offor of Omogho; Igwe Sylvester Nonso of Ifite-Anam and a veteran broadcaster and founder of Care Trust Foundation, Mrs. Ify Unachukwu enjoined people with disabilities to always identify with various registered groups that would help in addressing their needs and to refrain from beggary, even as they called for continuity, sustainability and extension of the projects to all part of the state.
Hon. Henry Madu, Supervisory Councillor for Works in Orumba North local government area charged government and private individuals to always reserve 80% job quota to physically challenged persons while recruiting staff, and apportion remaining 20% to normal persons, because according to him, the later can easily fend for themselves.
In a separate vote of thanks, Mr. Elias Agbata and Ms. Caroline Umeh implored government to expedite action towards reviewing and application of the baseline data.
During the respective meetings which attracted Traditional Rulers, Councillors and Civil Society groups operating at grassroot levels, CAPCADF presented copies of baseline data for persons living with disabilities to the two selected council chairmen and their lawmakers.



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