By Aderogba George
The Leprosy Mission Nigeria (TLMN), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has commended the Federal Government for the enactment of the 2018 Law against Discrimination for Persons Living with Disability (PWD).
The National Director of the NGO, Dr Sunday Udo, gave the commendation in Abuja on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ consultative forum on inclusive education in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and “We ring the bell campaign”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the programme was “Inclusive play-based, early childhood education”.
The Director was represented at the event by Mrs Orowo Stephen, Head of Human Resource and Administration of the NGO.
Udo also commended the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Education and the FCT education secretariat for promoting inclusive induction, especially with the drafting of policy on inclusive education.
He expressed optimism that work on the drafted policy would soon be completed and enforced for the good of PWD, as well as promote an inclusive society for all, including children with disabilities.
He said that TLMN, through its three zero strategy (zero transmission, zero disability, zero discrimination), has tried to bring healing and restoration to people affected by leprosy, neglected tropical diseases and disabilities in Nigeria.
He further said that through its partnership with the Liliane Foundation, based in the Netherlands, TLMN had promoted two of its strategies which are zero discrimination and zero disability through the Inclusion first programme.
According to Udo, “We Ring the Bell” is a worldwide, annual advocacy campaign on Inclusion, carried out in 20 countries since 2015.
He said the event is an avenue to make noise about inclusion of disability in all activities of the government.
He said that the slogan was also all about sending a message to the government and other stakeholders that “All Children, including those with disabilities, have the right to education.”
“This year’s campaign focuses on ‘Inclusive Play-based Early Childhood Education’ (IPECE), which we believe offers Children with disabilities the opportunity to learn at their own pace using educational methods that stimulate their interest in a safe environment.
“We believe that when children are identified as early as possible, they can be stimulated with suitable rehabilitation and early education interventions.
“IPECE, through its unique set up, offers a unique opportunity for caregivers/teachers to support the children to learn (at their own pace) because it promotes a balance between exploration and imitation,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWD), Mr James Lalu, stated that the mandate of the commission was to ensure that the rights of persons with Disability are met.
Represented by Mr Olasoji Adewale, Director, Planning Research and Statistics, Lalu said that there was the need for Nigerians to internalize inclusivity.
He said that the commission had been working in so many ways for the promotion of inclusive education.
According to him, the commission has been able to work towards the establishment of a sign language department at the Nasarawa State University.
The Director, FCT Department of Special Needs Education (DSNE), Mr Jonah Aturu, stated that the department had been playing its role by being a frontline advocate of inclusion of persons living with Disability in all spheres of human endeavours, particularly in education.
Represented by Mrs Amalu Angela, Assistant Director, DSNE, Aturu said that the department is indeed passionate about changing the attitudinal narrative from discrimination to total inclusion of persons with Disability.
He said that the department is working positively for the acceptance of learners and individuals living with one form of disability or the other in the public institution, particularly schools.
“The FCT DSNE operates a wide open-door policy in cross breeding of ideas and partnering with any organisation or individuals in ensuring the accomplishment of this mission. (NAN)
Edited by Vincent Obi