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National Assembly Shut Down By Disabled Persons

Hundreds of people with different kinds of disabilities stormed the National Assembly yesterday and paralysed activities for several hours. The protest was led by the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Tanko Almakura and Senator Bode Olajumoke, who were members of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD).

JONAPWD had the support of the International Republic Institute (IRI) to protest against the delay in signing the bill on disability, which was returned to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan for a rework.
Vehicular and human movement into and out of the National Assembly complex were halted as the blind, the deaf and people on wheel chairs formed a barricade at the main gate.
Mostly affected were visitors and hordes of government officials invited for engagements by various committees of the Senate and House of Representatives.

A detachment of police and plain cloth security men were able to convince the protesters to appoint a 15-member team to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly as they pleaded for understanding because of the security situation in the country.

The delegation was led by the Nasarawa State Governor, Almakura, Senator Olajumoke and the National Chairman of JONAPWD, Mr Danlami Basharu.
After presenting the letter of protest to the leadership, Almakura commended the response of the National Assembly to the demand of the physically challenged, saying they were warmly received.
“We were delighted that people with disability were appreciated by the leadership of National Assembly. We were received very friendly and they promised to expedite action on our request.

“We were in the National Assembly yesterday to remind the lawmakers that the bill on disability that was passed over a year ago was yet to be assented to and we feel it is not proper because people with disabilities were being discriminated against in appointment and employment.”

Governor Almakura said that the over 22 million disabled people in Nigeria were only asking for their rights and not for any favour, adding that with the huge population of disabled, it would be counter -productive to ignore such group.
He added that he loved to identify with the disabled persons so as to give them hope.

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