The Joint Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD), Abia State Chapter, has warned against discrimination of their member, Eze Anthony Anyiam Ohaeri who was recently installed as the traditional ruler of Umuezerola,Umuawa Alocha Autonomous Community in Umuahia North LGA.
This is even as the group has lauded the Abia State Government as well as the Umuawa Alaocha Community for their efforts in promoting disability inclusion in the state adding that it is a demonstration of support to the wellbeing of physically challenged persons.
Recall that Eze Anthony Anyiam Ohaeri, a deaf, was among traditional rulers in the state recently installed and given staff of office by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu during the celebration of the 31st anniversary marking the creation of Abia state.
Eze Anthony Ohaeri was selected as the first son and heir apparent to replace his Late Father, HRH,Eze Anyiam G.U Ohaeri.
The move which is first of its kind in Abia state and Umuawa-Alaocha community, however, did not go down well with some members of the royal family who are opposing Eze Ohaeri’s emergence.
But the State Chairman of JONAPWD, Mr Wisdom Okechukwu, in a solidarity visit with members of the group to Leaders of Umuezerola Community, warned against discriminatory acts against persons with disabilities.
Okechukwu recalled that the state House of Assembly had on August 31,2022, passed into law a bill which criminalizes
Discrimination Against Persons With Disabilities adding that the law had firmly assured physically challenged persons of equal opportunities to participate in every aspect of life in the state.
He equally noted that the bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and imposes sanctions including fines and prison sentences on those who contravene it, in addition to arming citizens with disabilities the right to file a lawsuit for damage against any defaulter.
In his words: “We are in the era where discrimination of all types is no longer accepted and this community has further buttressed the fact that there is ability in disability. This action would further facilitate the campaign against disability discrimination”, he added.
Responding, the President-General of Umuezerola Autonomous Community, Chief Ndukaku Ogwumike, described the emergence of Ohaeri as a traditional ruler as a blessing noting that the development had set a precedence for others to follow in the area of promoting disability inclusion in the society.
“We will establish the relevant machinery to promote peace, stability and progress in the community as our traditional ruler takes up the reins of leadership,” he said.
Also, a former Village Head of the Community, Chief Dickson Ohaeri, said that he had always been an advocate for disability inclusion.
“Disability does not mean inability and I know physically persons that have made significant impact in different professions, both home and abroad.
“Therefore, the installation of the new traditional ruler of Umuezerola Autonomous Community, who is a deaf, is a welcome development,”Ohaeri said.