The Centre for Citizens With Disabilities (CCD) has expressed dismay that over 600,000 persons with Disabilities in Abia State, particularly persons with hearing impairment cannot benefit from a Radio Class Programme currently ongoing on Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) station.
Executive Director of CCD, David Anyaele in a statement, said while the programme was laudable since it was designed to assist in keeping school children busy and abreast of their academics pending the resumption of normal classes, it was unfortunate that it was not all inclusive.
“CCD commends Abia State government for creating innovative education Radio Class program on Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) to keep students and their parents busy during the period of the lockdown as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.
“CCD appreciates Abia State government efforts to ensure that the academics of our highflying school children do not suffer too much from the pandemic and its associated social disruptions, as Abia State has been on the lead in WEAC Examination result in Nigeria for 3 years now.
“However, we are worried that this program discriminates, excludes, isolates and denied more than 600,000 persons with disabilities in Abia State, in particular, persons with hearing impairment as they cannot hear anything being taught on the Radio Class program on BCA Radio Station.
“It is depressing that the design and implementation of this Radio Class program on BCA Radio is a demonstration by Abia State government that the education of persons with disabilities does not matter, and another example of State led abuse of persons with disabilities’ rights to education and vocational training,” the statement read.
He said the CCD was deeply concerned that Abia State government has continued to conduct it programs and activities at the exclusion of persons with disabilities in the State, especially at this period of Covid-19 pandemic as every activity of the State government that is designed as a palliatives at this lockdown, excludes Abians with Disabilities.
According to him, this pathetic situation of Abians with disabilities was not unconnected with the delay by the Abia State House of Assembly to pass Abia State Disability Bill, to protect citizens with disabilities in the State from discrimination and other harmful practices.
“We are demanding that Abia State government led by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, take appropriate measure to review this Radio Class program on BCA to accommodate persons with hearing impairment and persons with disabilities in general.
“We further demand that Abia State government use BCA Television with a Sign Language Interpreter for the Radio Class program to ensure access to education to the deaf students, and that no-one-is-left-behind by reason of his or her disability in the State education system,” Anyaele said.
The CCD also called on Abia State House of Assembly to pass Abia State Disability Bill or adopt the National Disability Act without further delay, adding that the Act prohibits all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities. It also provides rights to: education, healthcare, access to public infrastructures amongst others.
“Finally, while we call on Abia State Ministry of Education to consult the leadership of organisations of persons with disabilities in the State, for support on approaches of ensuring that persons with disabilities are included in the Radio Class program, we wish to remind Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on what God says in the book of Proverb 31 v 8-9: it says “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy”.
Source: Inclusive News