A physically-challenged person and trained lawyer, Mrs Catherine Edeh, has called for the introduction of policies that would carter for the welfare of physically-challenged people in the country.
Edeh, who is the founder of a non-governmental organization, ‘Voice of Disability Initiative’ (VDI), made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
She urged government at all levels, to adequately address the challenges facing such persons to enable them explore their potentials.
Citing herself as an example, Edeh explained that having hearing impairment, she could only practice as a lawyer with the help of an interpreter.
“I cannot practice law now because our courts do not have interpreters and I cannot engage the services of an interpreter due to the high cost.
“I will have to pay an interpreter as high as N15, 000 for one day’s job and I cannot afford it but if our courts have interpreters, I will be able to practice as a lawyer, ’’ she said.
Edeh further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign into law, the Disability Rights Bill passed by the 7th National Assembly, saying her colleagues would be accorded their rights better under such a law.
According to her, physically-challenged persons are not being treated with dignity in public places, adding that it also is particularly very difficult for them to secure employment.
Edeh identified lack of easy access to public transport and public buildings like the courts, banks and hospitals among others, as some of their major challenges.
“Passage of the Nigeria Disability Rights Bill is very important because if implemented, almost all the basic needs of physically-challenged persons will be taken care of,” she said.
Another physically-challenged person who spoke to NAN, Mr Ezekiel Bende, complained of residential apartments not having facilities to suit their needs.
Bende said he always encountered difficulties accessing his apartment, adding that his landlord’s response to his complaint over staircase facility was not pleasing.
He therefore urged the government to establish a commission that would handle the affairs of physically-challenged persons in the country.
He said the commission would also handle cases of offenders or violators of rights of such persons.