What would you do if a physically challenged man had sought your assistance to cross to the other side a major road? note carefully, in my question I did not actually specify what sort of disability the person could be having, he could be a blind person, crippled or complete lame person. I know many Nigerians would like to render such help with alacrity perhaps out of pity,’hey poor man! He couldn’t see or He can’t walk’ most of us would whisper within ourselves. However, beyond that assistance that you have just rendered what sort of treatment would you give to same person, if he had come for a job interview in your firm, organisation or company that you have supposedly laboured for over the years? I bet such question would need google search engine before it could be answered.
And of course, the answer would be ‘I cannot employ People With Disabilities (PWD) into my firm’. ‘They will slow down my operations’ that would probably be the answer many of us would give! The society we live in, is such a society that is quick to condemn, particularly in this part of the world. Once we see one form of disability in a person, such person has become invalid, useless, unproductive and a liability to the family.
Automatically there is an assumption that such being would never amount to anything. A wrong assumption from a warp mind! I have read stories of how couples killed their own offsprings simply because those babies had been born deformed. How heartless and thoughtless!
If God reasons like humans, I am sure such family has blown their only chance! They should be ready to stay childless for the rest of their lives, except for the ones they already had or they become foster parents. However, God is not wicked like humans, He does not have shallow and myopic thoughts like us.
Countless stories of how parents turned murderers overnight just because their babies seemed not to be perfectly looking as expected. Not knowing that they are the ones with major disability! Because it would take an insane person to take an innocent soul. Come to think of it, if all parents were like them, we would never have those famous PWDs with extra-ordinary gifts. The likes of Ray Charles, Franklin Roosevelt, Stevie Wonder and The Famous Alabama Boys in the US. When we come down to Africa, our very own Cobhams Asuquo, who has taken Nigerian Music Industry by storm, he is arguably one of the best music producer in Africa. And of course Yakubu Adesokan and Esther Oyema those who had done us proud at the 2012 Paralympics Games in London and became Gold medalists.
Now tell me how invalid are these people I have just mentioned? When they had been able to perform extra-ordinary feats that some able-bodied men could not deem fit. There has been so much discrimination against PWD in many societies. For this reason, United Nations (UN) formed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities draft in 2006 but signed by 2007 by UN member states. It is an international human rights treaty intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.
The Convention has served as the major catalyst in the global movement from viewing persons with disabilities as objects of charity, medical treatment and social protection towards viewing them as full and equal members of society, with human rights.
According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Eighty per cent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries, in other words, developing nations have huge responbilities of insulating PWDs from various form of attacks and societal abuses which are peculiar to some African states, where myths and superstitious believe still hold sway. I have seen documentaries of how Albinos are being mutilated in Tanzania and ritual killings of dwarfs in Eastern part of Africa. All these are barbaric mentality and quite inhuman. PWDs are honourable, sane, and productive just like you and I. Therefore we should love and respect them and always look forward to give them that sense of belonging they deserve at all times.