Kwara State Governor, Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Friday hosted the association of physically challenged persons in the state in commemoration of the White Cane Safety Day, described them a significant part of the population.
White Cane Safety Day is celebrated worldwide on 15th of October to pursue an advanced safety of the people who are visually challenged, pledging to continue of support for all persons living with disabilities.
The governor said his administration will always cater to the needs of the people living with disabilities in the state as their safety and well-being are sacrosanct.
He commended the National Association of Blind in Kwara State for its advocacies, and said he would lobby the House of Assembly to expedite actions on the Disability (amendment) Bill, which AbdulRazaq believes would drive positive changes in how society treats such persons.
He said he is always glad to identify with the weak and the vulnerable owing to their peculiar needs for survival, pledging to commit more resources to their welfare especially in the area of education, empowerment, and representation at the decision making level.
“You are deeply appreciated for putting this event together to educate the public. I thank you for the sacrifices you are making in bringing awareness to governments and society in general. This government is not leaving anyone behind. We will pay attention to your needs. Your needs are what are termed special needs,” he said.
“On the disability law, I will speak with the Speaker, Kwara House of Assembly and register your issue with him so as to look at how to expedite actions on the passage of the law within the fourth quarter of this year. We will also look into the issue of health insurance for your members.”
A special assistant on disability will soon be appointed to be the go-between for the government and persons living with disabilities, the Governor said, adding that the administration will also consider their requests on improving facilities at the state library and training centre for them at Amayo (Ifelodun).
Chairman of the group Adebayo Gbadamosi, for his part, said they hold annual rallies to commemorate the White Cane Safety Day and educate members of the public on the plights of visually impaired people.
He thanked Governor AbdulRazaq for always coming to their aid and for showing them love and recognition, with particular reference to employment opportunities, renovation and equipping of the School for Special Needs at Apata Yakuba Ilorin.
“This is the first time a sitting Governor would meet or address us. We are thankful to your Excellency for what you have been doing for people with disabilities in the state, most especially those who are visually impaired. Since you came on board, you have come to our aid through the provision of employment, vocational training for our members and financial support. You have also done a lot for the state’s School for Special Needs and we are immensely grateful,” he said.
“There are still more gaps to fill when it comes to employment, because some of our members who have certificates are job seekers. One of the best ways to discourage street begging is to provide the disabled with empowerment opportunities or support for their businesses.”
He had earlier requested the government for speedy amendment of the disability law, provision of access to free healthcare service for their members, and political representation.