Governor Willie Obiano on Tuesday, at the State Government House, Awka, swore in the board members of the Anambra State Disability Rights Commission.
The board has as its Chairman, Barrister Chukwuka Ezewuzie and Barrister Chinenye Okeke, who is a Deputy Director representing Ministry of Justice, as Secretary.
The board also comprises Comr. Ugochukwu Okeke, who is the State Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, Mrs Obianyo Anthonia, representing Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Miss Victoria Okonkwo, Unit Head, Ministry of Basic Education ( Representing Ministry of Education), Mr Tony Oli, representing Anambra State Sports Development Commission and Bishop Moses Ezedebego, representing Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Others include Dr Lady Pat Okeke, representing the Private Sector, Mrs Eucharia Anekwe, Director, Gender Perspective and Social Development Centre ( Representing Civil Society Organisation focusing on Disability Issues) and Mr Williams Ndidika Umeh, Retired Director of Education and Former Head of Department of Education and Social Development Local Government Service Commission.
The Commission is to drive the full implementation of the provisions of the Anambra State Disability Rights Law, which was signed into law on the 18thof December, 2018.
Inaugurating the Board members, Governor Obiano urged members to strive to ensure that all the work that went into enacting the law and setting up the Commission, is not a waste.
He read out the terms of reference for the Board.
“The Commission is to implement government policies in the law with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) and all other disability matters.
“You will issue guidelines for education, social development and welfare of persons living with disabilities.
“The Commission will also issue direction and guidelines to special schools for persons living with disabilities.
“It will give direction and guidelines on all manner of disabilities, preventive or curative exercises.
“The commission is also required to collaborate with relevant ministries, parastatals or corporate bodies issuing codes and directives for structural design and building so as to make them accessible to, and usable by persons living with disabilities as well as other functions as stipulated in Section 12 (A-U) of Anambra State Disability Rights Law, 2018,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu said the Commission is one of the soft legacies of the Obiano administration and will ensure the three needs of the Disability community which hovers around protection, inclusion and empowerment, are met.
He recalled that Governor Obiano in his first term, had set up the home for the mentally challenged at Nteje in Oyi Council Area, as well as rehabilitated and equipped Basden Memorial Special School for the mentally challenged at Isulo.
“It is important to note that the governor has ensured that Persons With Disabilities in Anambra are protected, included and empowered.
“It is no longer news that the governor directed that persons with disabilities be employed into the state Civil Service and today we have over 400 of them employed in the state civil service.
“We also have 3 Permanent Secretaries get to their position due to the attention given by the Governor and four sign language interpreters have been appointed too and you can see them everywhere, ensuring that communications are made seamless for the PWDs,” he said.
The SSG applauded the wife of the governor, Chief Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano whose CAFE initiative had given artificial limbs and hands to numerous persons and by so doing, helped them resettle back in the society.
Responding, the Chairman of the Board, Barr Ezewuzie said by constituting the body, the governor has guaranteed that efforts at bettering the lots of the PWDs will continue, even after he leaves office.
According to him, the swearing-in of the Board members crowns all the achievements of the Obiano administration for the Disability Community.
He recalled how the governor and the wife had long before they came into politics, been making efforts towards helping the less privileged and said their coming into government only created a better opportunity to do more.
“Governor Obiano has repeatedly said that after he finishes with the disability community, people will come to Anambra state to learn how to deal with the community.
“What we are seeing today, is a fulfilment of that promise
“You have consolidated the achievements for the past 8 years to guarantee that after leaving office, your legacy for the people with Disabilities will continue, through the establishment and Inauguration of Anambra State Disability Rights Commission,” he said.
While thanking the Governor for presenting Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo to the Anambra people to succeed him, Barr Ezewuzie expressed the confidence that the Anambra Governor-elect has all it takes to surpass the achievements of the Obiano administration.
A minute silence was at the event, observed for a member of the disability community from Ekwulobia in Aguata LGA who was killed and burnt by his brother, over a parcel of land over the weekend.