Dr Christopher Nwanoro, President, National Disability Empowerment Forum (NADEF)

SDGs inclusion of PWDs step in right direction – Nwanoro

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By Lucy Ogalue

Dr Christopher Nwanoro, President, National Disability Empowerment Forum (NADEF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has lauded the United Nations (UN)’s adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure inclusiveness for PWDs.

The NADEF president, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said the SDGs were on course and would be successful come 2030.

Nwanoro, a candidate for the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), reiterated some of the challenges faced by PWDs and their fight for inclusion in the development agenda.

Reflecting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he said that the failure to acknowledge PWDs led to the eventual cancellation.

“Why the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) failed was because they refused to acknowledge Persons with Disabilities.

“We fought against it and it was cancelled. When you go through that document, our people were not carried along; we insisted that the right thing should be done.

“The SDG is really all-encompassing when you look at it. You have the operational protocols, the treaties, and everybody is involved. Women, the girl-child, PWDs and other groups, it covers everything.

“So, I believe strongly that the SDGs will go a long way come 2030,” Nwanoro said.

The activist said in Nigeria several efforts had been made to ensure that PWDs were represented and could contest for various political positions.

Nwanoro, however, said funding had remained a major challenge in actualising this goal, adding that some other persons who had the funds were limited by stereotype and marginalisation.

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According to the activist, PWDs are more vulnerable than women and should not be categorised alongside the women.

“In most cases, I have attended some international programmes where we met with women and they used PWDs to get what they want.

“They will merge it up – affirmative action including women and people with disabilities but when the disabilities come, women take it all.

“So, when we are talking about vulnerability, we are more vulnerable than any other group.

“So we are fighting, trying, talking and reaching out to the government, parliament and to individuals, organisations and the international community that persons with disabilities should be carried along because they have something to offer,” he said.

He reiterated the need for PWDs to be carried along in every aspect of life and given a chance to contribute their quota for sustainable development.

NAN reports that Nwanoro became blind as an undergraduate at his 300 level. After many obstacles and challenges, his determination saw him through school, where he acquired his first degree, masters and PhD.

His passion for PWDs led him to establish Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) such as NADEF, Lotus Initiative for the Blind and Rivers of Hope Humanitarian Initiatives to support PWDs in every way possible.

The disabilities rights activist was nominated by the Nigerian government in 2022 to represent Nigeria and possible Africa in the UN’s CRPD elections coming up on June 11.

The CRPD is a committee of experts selected from each continent to represent their continent on matters relating to the rights of persons with disabilities. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Ali Baba Inuwa

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