A bill to protect the physically challenged persons against all forms of discrimination and to provide for equal opportunities in all aspect of living in the society and for connected purposes has been passed into law by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
The bill which was the first private member bill in the 6th assembly and was sponsored by Rt Hon Onofiok Luke who was not the Speaker at the time, was passed into law Tuesday following the submission of the report of the House Committee on Women Affairs, Social Welfare and Special Matters. After adopting the report of the committee which was presented by the Chairman, Hon. Felicia Bassey who is also the Deputy Speaker, the House later dissolved into a committee of the whole for the purpose of consideration of the report.
The Akwa Ibom State physically challenged persons protection law makes provision for the establishment of a special commission to cater for the welfare of the physically challenged persons. The commission will provide public assistance and aids to persons living with disabilities in the state for the purposes of improving their wellbeing among others.
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Section 3(1) of the law provides that “All levels of government shall take appropriate steps to ensure that persons living with disabilities have good standard of living for themselves and their families including food, clothing and housing and to the continuous improvement of living conditions”.
Reacting after the passage of the law, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke commended the lawmakers for supporting the passage of the bill which he said was an indication of their being alive and responsive to the plights of physically challenged persons in the society. He said the passage of the bill further demonstrate the readiness and resolve of the House to give succor to the physically challenged.
Barr Luke said: “It is our avowed commitment that we will always rise to the occasion to defend the defenseless. This is in line with our pledge to use the mandate our people gave us to work on the path of justice. We will continue to do more in order to ensure that life is made meaningful to the physically challenged”