Senior Special Adviser to Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Physically Challenged Matters, Hon. Itekenna Altraide, has praised Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State over an automatic employment he offered two newly wedded physically challenged couples.
The couples whose wedding gifts were automatic employment into Anambra State civil service are: Mr and Mrs Ndubueze Comfort Ezemba (Deaf couple) and Mr Agbanu Kelechi (a visually impaired groom).
The good news was broken by the Senior Special Adviser to the Gov. Obiano on Disability Matters, Barr. Chuks Ezewuzie, when both couples visited his office to collect their wedding gifts from the governor.
Barr Ezewuzie who represented his boss at the wedding of the Ezembas and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Dr. Azuka Ofomata, who represented the Governor at the wedding of the Agbabus both presented the governor’s wedding gifts to the newly wedded couples.
The SSA explained that the employment slots were part of the automatic employment scheme the governor announced for persons with disabilities in the state.
In their ‘thank you’ message to the governor, the couple expressed huge appreciation.
According to Governor Wike’s SSA, “We deeply appreciate this employment gesture by Governor Obiano. We urged other states to emulate same for the interest of physically challenged persons.
Another governor that has tried in offering automatic employment to physically challenged persons is Governor Wike. His 1st and 3rd anniversaries as Rivers State governor, he employed several physically challenged persons.
Hon Altraide also appealed to other governors to prioritize employment of physically challenged persons on quarterly basis.
Following the signing of the Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018 into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, it becomes an offence to discriminate against physically challenged persons in the country.
According to the provisions of the new law, corporate offenders risk a fine of N1m and N100,000 for individuals.
There is also a penalty of six years jail term for the offence as an option.
The Act further provides that before erecting any public structure, its plan should be scrutinised by relevant authority to ensure that it conforms to the building code.
A government or government agency, body or individual responsible for the approval of building plans shall not approve the plan of a public building if the plan does not make provision for accessibility facilities in line with the building code.
An officer who approves or directs the approval of a building plan that contravenes the building code, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of at least N1, 000, 000 or a term of imprisonment of two years or both.
Discrimination is prohibited in public transportation facilities and service providers are to make provision for the physically, visually and hearing impaired. This applies to seaports, railways and airport facilities, the law stated.
It added that the rights and privileges include; education, health care, priority in accommodation and emergencies. Furthermore, all public organisations are to reserve at least five per cent of employment opportunities for these persons.
The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities was also established in Section 31 with an Executive Secretary.