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News2023: PWDs demands  accessibility to polling units

2023: PWDs demands  accessibility to polling units

2023: PWDs demands  accessibility to polling units

By: Femi Oyelola

As the 2023 General Elections draw closer, representatives of different clusters of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) from Kaduna Central have called for accessibility to Polling Units, (PUs), and equal voting rights for its members.

This was contained in a communique issued and signed by the followings: David Pius Association of Persons with Albinism;  Rahmatu Ahmad, WWDSRF; Queen David, NAB; Suleiman Abdullazeez, JONAPWD Chair; and Abubakar Sadiq, NAB; at the end of meeting of PWDs in Kaduna Central yesterday.

According to the cluster in  previous elections, PWDS suffered  to access polling units, ⁿ as experience by PWDs that voted at the Polling Unit cited at the Disability Centre.

“At some polling units, PWDs experience difficulty crossing big gutters to access the voting area. Even though the amended Electoral Act (2022) has some provisions for ensuring voting is made easier for PWDs, much still needs to be done.

While lamenting the poor education inclusion, the group called on the State Government to prioritize inclusive education and intensify efforts so all disability types would be carried along; and increased budgetary provisions for materials needed to enhance inclusive education e.g. braille, typewriters, interpreters, among others.
They also want  scholarships to be prioritized for Persons with Disabilities, especially from poor families;, saying there should be penalty for parents who neglect or deny their disabled children/wards formal education

The communique also expressed dismay over communication barriers, hence  sign language interpreters should be made available in public places, to encourage the hearing impaired to be kept informed and to make communication easy between them and the general public.

According to the group, this would encourage and improve the employment of persons with hearing impairment in government recruitment drives.

The clusters also urged media organizations in the state, especially TV stations, to employ the services of sign language interpreters for their news and feature programmes to ensure the hearing impaired are not left behind.

The clusters expressed concern about the low affirmative action for its members, therefore PWDs should  be considered in political appointments as other social groups are given the opportunity.

“The group calls on political parties to consider PWDs as viable members are encouraging their full participation within the political structure.

“Local Governments are encouraging to include PWDs in statutory committees like the LG Planning Committee and other opportunities,” the clusters stated.

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