In a startling revelation, Mr. James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD), disclosed that a staggering 35.1 million Nigerians are currently living with disabilities.
This revelation was made during a one-day program held in the southeast region, focused on issuing permanent certificates to persons with disabilities.
Represented by Mr. Ikem Uchegbulam, the acting Director of Compliance and Enforcement at the commission, Lalu based the figure on a report from the World Health Organization (WHO).
The programme aimed at sensitizing individuals with disabilities emphasized the importance of certification, aligning with Section 28 of the Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities Act.
Lalu clarified that while medical doctors could issue temporary disability certificates for short-term impairments, the NCPWD is responsible for issuing permanent disability certificates.
He stressed that possessing a valid disability certificate is essential for individuals to access remedies under the Act, reinforcing the legal requirement.
The Executive Secretary highlighted the dual role of the certificate, acting as a means of identification and a legal prerequisite for seeking remedies in a court of law.
Lalu affirmed the commission’s commitment to ensuring that the estimated 35.1 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria have access to their constitutionally enshrined rights.
In response, Mrs. Nkechi Ugwu, the Imo Commissioner for Women Affairs and Vulnerable Groups, expressed gratitude to the commission for its efforts in addressing the challenges faced by Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
Represented by Mrs. Ozioma Nwigwe, the Director of Administration and Finance in the ministry, Ugwu assured ongoing support from the Imo Government in advocating for the rights of persons living with disabilities in the state.
The event drew participation from various clusters of the Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities, representing the visually impaired, deaf, and those with physical impairments.
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