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Nov. Kogi guber poll: Women disability advocacy group demands inclusiveness from candidates

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A disability advocacy group in Kogi State has called on all gubernatorial candidates vying for the Lugard House in the November 11 election to include women living with disabilities in party programmes and key decision-making process.

The group made the demand in Lokoja, the state capital during a strategic meeting organized by Advocacy for Women with Disabilities Initiative (AWDI), a rights group that collaborates with the media to raise awareness on the sexual and reproductive health rights of women and girls in the state.

The group’s demand was hinged on the 35 percent gender Affirmative Action (AA), which according to it empowers them to fight various forms of discrimination as ruled by the court.

The Program Manager, Kola Jayeoba said the community of women with disabilities needs more attention in terms of livelihood, education, public enlightenment, decision making, access to medical facilities, sexual and reproductive health, as well as warm reception by health personnel.

Emphasising that the populace must be aware that they are only restricted to “certain activities”, he said the women should be given a chance with the right environment created for them to explore.

“We have observed overtime that the unreceptive attitudes of some health personnel discourage women with disabilities from visiting the hospital, especially during for ante- natal, and there is no sign language interpreter in our hospitals in Kogi to assist these women. We urge the state government to also look into that,” Jayeoba said.

The program manager appealed to the state government to get the accurate data of persons with disabilities in the state so as to assist them in making better decisions in the budgetary processes.

“Data plays critical role in budgeting. The government needs to find out how many persons with disabilities are in Kogi State, and these data should be disaggregated to help them know how many people are visually impaired, those with hearing and walking difficulty, people with albinism to mention but a few.

“This will help the government make critical decisions and get the international communities to identify areas of support,” he said.

Persecondnews reports that the programme is supported by HIVOS People Limited and WE Lead, two organizations dedicated to promoting inclusivity and diversity.

The AWDI campaign aims to create awareness around the sexual and reproductive health rights of women with disabilities.

Ultimately, promoting inclusivity for women with disabilities will lead to a better and more equitable society for all, hence, women are encouraged to come out of their shell to break the barriers.

The advocacy is even more crucial as reports by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2022 indicates that Nigeria has 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty, and one in six percent- more than half of these people are women, including women with disabilities.

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