By Faith Igbudu
Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Benue state have cried out to the “Irish Aid” humanitarian agency to sustain funding for advocacy that bothers on disability rights in the state.
They cried out during the close out session of the project: “Strengthening Local Advocacy for Disability Inclusiveness in Electoral Processes” organised by a Non Governmental Organization known as Foundation for Justice Development and Peace (FJDP) with support from Irish Aid.
They said a lot has been achieved through the project which spanned for six months, saying that a closure of the project before elections in 2023 will fade out any change that has been recorded.
PWDs also called on other humanitarian agencies to emulate or support FJDP in being a voice to the disabled members of the society and giving them a sense of belonging.
Speaking at the sidelines of the meeting, General Secretary, Albinism Association of Nigeria and Head, Albinism Cluster, Benue State, Adeyi Onah, said “through this programme, we have learnt so much about the inclusion of persons with disabilities in our electoral process, especially how to be visible during the forthcoming elections.”
According to him, the journey has just began as more grounds need to be covered.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), as well as security agencies, who have been part of the project, commended FJDP for the concern shown towards PWDs and promised to at their various levels, carry out acts that will promote the rights of PWDs during the forthcoming elections.
Earlier, State Coordinator of the organization, Rev Fr Remigius Ihyula, in his remark said the organization is willing to partner any group or agency, in order to enhance the continuous advancement of persons with disabilities in the state.
According to him, no human being is less important to the other and as a organization, they hope to ensure that the rights of persons of concern are recognised and respected.
In his words: “It is true that we are physically challenged but we are human beings with full needs. In the Catholic Church, we often say that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God, we don’t define anything less than that, so we will always be here for you.”
He also thanked Irish Aid for the assistance given to the organization for the project, Bishop of the diocese, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe, as well as every stakeholder, who worked with the organization on the project.