Physically challenged persons in Delta State have appealed to the government, corporate organisations and good spirited individuals to lend a helping hand to ensure their survival, lamenting neglect especially during this COVID-19 period.
While lamenting that their individual challenges have always meant daily hardship for them, the outbreak of the novel virus has practically made their lives a nightmare.
The disabled, visually-impaired and deaf among others made the appeal at the weekend during a media dialogue with the theme, “Impact of Climate Change and Persons With Disabilities,” organised by Persons with Disabilities Action Network (PEDANET) Nigeria with support from the Global Green Grants Fund.
Some of them noted the difficulties they encounter accessing hospitals and public places including churches, government offices and even various hotels and centres of learning because they were not taken into consideration in the structuring of these public places.
The Founder, Initiative for Cultural Heritage, Chief Osaemenjor Chukwuemeka in his presentation, appealed to “hospitals to assist these special citizens to cover the distressing distance they have to cover to access doctors in hospital clinics” even as he urged hospitals, hotels and public places to be more sensitive to special needs of persons on the wheelchair.
In his presentation on “The Effect of Climate Change in Delta Communities – The 2012 Flood As A Case Study”, Mr Eugene Hyacinth Ossai, a journalist, agriculturist and community development advocate, noted that while people may be grouped into those with physical, mental or other forms of impairment, economic disability affects all segments of the society.
However, economic disability was far more severe for people with disabilities because they are compelled to add the burden of general economic disability to their natural or circumstantial physical, mental or other forms of disability.
Drawing instances from his personal experience, Comrade Innocent Esume, acting secretary of Persons With Disabilities, Ndokwa Nation, appealed to the government and good-spirited individuals to assist persons with disabilities to obtain education, skills, training, jobs and various palliatives that would help them get succour from the harsh effects of the COVID-19.