CROSS RIVER GOVERNMENT PLEDGE TO DEEPEN PARTICIPATION OF PWD, ALBINOS IN GOVERNANCE

The government of Cross River State has pledged to adequately integrate persons with disabilities into governance. The commitment was made by Prof. Anthony Owan Enoh, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Cross River State, during a courtesy visit by the TAF Africa team and disability clusters led by Amb. Jake Epelle, CEO/Founder, TAF Africa. Responding to their plea, the SSG stated that the request for the integration of persons living with disabilities into governance is not new, because the state had always worked to ensure persons with disabilities are not left out. In his words, “We have always employed them as Special Advisers and as Personal Assistants, but we are going to do much more. Even now, the issue of our buildings has been audited to ensure that we really get compliance so that persons with disabilities can also have access to our facilities. That is a big point of attention which we would do. Public buildings are not only for persons without disabilities but also for persons with disabilities. “In terms of the law, we have already passed a bill in the House of Assembly for which we have thought about inclusion of people with disabilities in the affairs of the state, that have been recognized and been pursued. The state has done very well by involving persons with disabilities in the management of affairs in the state. The CEO/Founder of TAF Africa, Mr. Jake Epelle expressed high hopes in the current administration. According to him, “We are interested in ensuring that the government carries along persons with disability in all spheres of governance.” He revealed that they are willing to partner in developing guidelines for the forthcoming local government election. Mr. Livinus Ibingha, State Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) disclosed that they have been advocating seriously for the holistic inclusion of persons with disabilities. According to him, “We have been with SSG advocating for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. There was a bill passed by the Assembly, the bill was assented to by the immediate past governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, waiting for the establishment of a Commission. “We are hopeful that the issue has been presented before His Excellency here through the SSG, and he has assured us that he is going to make sure we go to the governor to re-echo what we have presented before him because it is a commission that will air the views of persons with disability in the state.”

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