Abia State chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) took their protest against non-assent to the Disability Bill to journalists in Umuahia, urging the National Assembly (NASS) to urgently do the needful.

They expressed worry that 14 years after its first passage in 2004 by the National Assembly, the bill was yet to be assented to.

Addressing journalists at the NUJ Press Centre during their protest, Abia JONAPWD chairman, Stanley Onyebuchi, said that passing the bill and effecting the resultant law would be the greatest good the government would do for his members whose number he put at 23 million as at 2006.

He expressed worry over the lingering bill, which he said was first introduced in the NASS in 2001 and passed in 2004, but then President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to assent to it.

According to him, during the succeeding Goodluck Jonathan presidency, it was still passed and again was not assented to, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari, during his campaign for the 2015 general election, promised to re-send the bill to NASS, if elected.

He also said that about two months ago when it was re-presented, Buhari returned it to NASS for amendment.

Two members of the association, Wilson Okechukwu and Urasi Eze, who are special assistants on disability matters to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, said that their numerical strength could influence voting, adding that countries like Ghana, Kenya and South Africa already had such laws in operation.

“This law is our right and the good government can extend to us,” the added.

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