The DownSyndrome Foundation Nigeria (DSFN) has called on the three tiers of government to promote equal treatment and opportunities for physically challenged people to enable them to contribute to economic development.
Its President, Mrs Rose Mordi, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
Mordi said that equal treatment for persons with disabilities in the labour market would boost the nation’s economic development.
She said people living with disabilities made up greater percentage of the Nigerian population, adding that good number of them fall under the working class.
“Persons with disabilities are still denied access to healthcare services, jobs and schools, rejection from their families and treated unfairly because of their status.
“One out of every seven people in the world has a disability and the vast majority of them are of working age, but most of them do not enjoy the right to work.
“Moreso, the exclusion of physically challenged persons from the labour market can cost economies up to seven per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” Mordi said.
According to her, it is estimated that persons with disabilities make up 15 per cent of global population about one billion people.
She noted that they represented one of the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in the world.
“With 80 per cent of persons with disabilities living globally, one in five of the world’s poorest are persons with disabilities.
“In spite of this, governments, policymakers and implementers for a long time have neither recognised nor prioritised this issue,” Mordi said.
She, however, stressed the need to focus on skills and talents.
According to her, there are abilities and talents in every disability and call for action to unleash the potential in persons with disabilities to enhance economic development.
Mordi, therefore, advised the governments to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that rights of individuals were protected.
She also urged every individual to treat one another first as humans with rights that need to be respected and upheld.
Mordi said that all Nigerians have responsibility to prevent discrimination against persons with abilities in the society. (NAN)