Posted by Theresa Moses, Lagos | 18 December 2015 | 3,354 times
The United States of America Consulate in Lagos has called on the Nigerian Government and the public sector not to discriminate against persons with disability because they are creative, intelligent and are capable of contributing their quota to the development of the economy and that the government should not only employ people with disability, they should be listened to, trained and made to pass through educational institutions, which will bring out their skills and potentials to enable them function well in the society.
The Head of Public Affairs at the United States Consulate, Lagos, Dehab Gehbreab, stated this at the Persons With Disability Heroes Gathering on Tuesday, hosted at the Access Bank Head Office in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Her words: “It’s not enough to employ people with disability, but Nigerian government and public sector should listen, train, partner with educational institutions to bring out the potentials and skills in persons with disability for them to function well. We, at the United States Consulate in Lagos, would like to emphasise that inclusion and equal opportunity is important at every point in society and every stage in life.”
Gehbreab, in her key-note speech, said we have a lot to do than we are already doing in education and enlightenment, further implored the government to tap into the creativity, experience and intelligence of the 25 million Nigerians with one form of disability or the other.
“We have a lot to do than we are already doing in education and enlightenment. We want people with disability given opportunity, and I implore government to find a way to tap into the talents of the 25 million Nigerians with one form of disability or the other. People with disability are creative, experienced, professional problem-solvers and intelligent. We should take from the knowledge and resources that they have to add to the development of the economy. Contact them, do business with them, and be smart enough to hire them,” she said.
In his welcome address, Mr Amaechi Okobi, Group Head, Corporate Communications, Access Bank, reinstates bank’s commitment to creating opportunities and helping underserved and underprivileged population across Africa reach their full potential.
He said: “There is clearly a case for inclusivity of PWDs into wider society. Access Bank is therefore committed to creating opportunities and helping underserved and underprivileged population across Africa reach their full potential. One of the ways we do this is by providing support for laudable initiatives such as this, which positively impact persons living with disabilities. This will clearly support efforts of the Nigerian government and key stakeholders in improving the health, empowerment and right of persons living with disability. Though statistics still show massive gap in access to education and employment, we believe that further collaboration amongst key stakeholders will help address these gaps,” adding:
“As we celebrate this day we, at Access Bank, believe that an inclusive society is achievable, and we are committed to making it happen. I leave you with this few words: 'the real disability is in our negative attitudes to each other, whether living with a physical challenge or not.’”
The event came to an end with a book presentation entitled Neddle’s Eye, by Ngozi Ukpai-Okoro, a Disability Rights Advocate and social change leader.
•Photo shows Dehab Gehbreab.
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