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Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2013

Delta: Disabled Persons Protest over Govt Neglect, Take over Asaba-Benin Expressway

Delta State Governor Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan

JULY 9TH ( URHOBOTODAY)-It was hectic on Monday for motorists and commuters plying the Benin-Asaba expressway as physically challenged persons took over the highway in Asaba Delta state capital protesting that they had been denied several opportunities to see the governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan since he assumed office in 2007 to press for their demand for better living.
Under the aegis of Joint Association of Persons Living With Disabilities (JAPLWD), Delta State Chapter, they blocked the road at Summit junction for several hours thereby causing untold hardship for road users for over six hours.

Motorists and travellers were held for hours as drivers who got wind of the development from far distances had to divert to other routes through Umunede or Issele Azagba or Edo-Ogwashi to Ogwashi-uku before finding their way to Asaba.
The physically-challenged persons vowed to remain on the road until their demands are met just as they accused the government of insensitivity to their plight.
The traffic jam started from the Onitsha/Asaba head bridge and extended as far as the Asaba International Airport while they slept, sat and turned the road to a play ground making it impossible for any vehicle to move as soldiers and other security personnel were helpless over the situation.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ovuzorie Macauley; Permanent Secretary, Government House, Tony Obu, passers-by and travellers were also helpless.
According to Comrade Obruche Isaac, Chairman of the association in the state, “my members would remain under the sun or rain to press home their demands until Governor Uduaghan would deem it fit to address us.”
He said the demands of the persons were quite legion and it was only the governor that could give the group the word of assurance that the aim of the protest would again not be defeated.
“The main reason we are here is that we have been working so hard to see that we have an audience with the governor since his assumption of office, but we have not been able to have that audience. And several issues affecting us have not been addressed.
“The issues are free medical health care for persons with disabilities; our bill to establish a commission for persons with disabilities in the Delta State House of Assembly is lying there unaddressed; we have the issue of SURE-P in the state in which persons with disabilities were totally excluded at both the state and local government levels in Delta.
“As I speak to you, it is only the chairman of Ndokwa East council that has released N1.5 million to empower our people in that locality. The remaining 24 councils have done nothing as regards the SURE-P.
“Also the ministry of health has not attended to applications from our members for the past two years and as a matter of fact we lost five of them last year. There are some of them with very sympathetic situation that have applied for medical attention but not granted. All efforts to meet with the commissioner for health has proved abortive, different messages to his cell phone have not been attended to.
“In the transport sector, in Lagos issues of transportation of persons with disabilities have been addressed and they also have a scheme where persons with disabilities are employed to earn a living. We also have members who are graduates.
“Of course we have confidence in the governor, no doubt he is a listening governor, but the problem we are having here is that those that are representing us are not doing what they are supposed to do. What do you make out of an able-bodied person being a Special Adviser to the Governor on physically challenged matters?
The rehabilitation department of the Ministry of Women Affairs where we fall under is under the management of person who is not physically challenged. We have persons with disabilities in the civil service, will it be out of place if one of them is in charge of that office. All efforts to see that the issues are addressed have proved abortive. Countless letters seeking audience with the governor have not yielded fruit.”
Source: Leadership

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