The Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) said that the lack of adequate facilities in banks has excluded around 27 million people with disabilities (PWD) from accessing financial institutions in Nigeria.
Its deputy director, Busola Ajibola, rose to prominence on Monday in Abuja during a two-day training on disability reporting for the media organized by the center, in collaboration with the Disability Right Advocacy Center (DRAC), Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) and The Albino Foundation (TAF).
Ajibola expressed his concern that this large number of people will be overlooked and not taken into consideration, because the possible income that the institutions could have earned from them is lost.
She also lamented that three years later, the Disability Bill accentuated by Muhammadu Buhari and passed by the 9th National Assembly has yet to be implemented, hence the continued neglect of the needs of persons with disabilities.
“Take for example the Disability Rights Act passed since 2019, people with disabilities still suffer from neglect regardless of whether we have passed laws that can meet their needs,” she said.
“An estimated 27 million people with disabilities are in Nigeria and these people are excluded from financial institutions.
“Most banks in Nigeria have no provision for people with disabilities except very few and not only have they excluded these people but they have lost the patronage of this large number of people and income,” she added.
Ajibola further noted the bad effects of the education system on people with disabilities, pointing out that meeting their needs goes beyond having separate schools, as it alienates them from society and makes it difficult for them to interact with people. not disabled.
“There are cases where teachers have beaten students with disabilities because they seem not to catch up with the teachings, it will not help the child, but rather they lose confidence. Teachers must be trained on how to handle children with disabilities as trained teachers the teacher will understand that flogging the child only makes the situation worse.
The Deputy Director has therefore tasked the journalists to produce hard-hitting reports that will depict the true situation of what disabled people are suffering in the community to enable them to get the intervention on their human rights.
“When we exclude a particular group of people in our reporting, we have actually lost them. When you want to tell the story of people with disabilities, tell it in their words, reach out to people who are living the reality.
“Media reporting on people with disabilities must be inclusive and sustainable, as disability can be acquired without necessarily having it by conception. Writing stories about people with disabilities might solve a situation for yourself, as some disabilities are acquired later in life.
For his part, Jake Ekpelle, Executive Director of TAF, regretted that disability is most often associated with begging, the need for help and charity, pointing out that this is a false impression because people disabilities often resent unsolicited help.
Ekpelle reiterated that in articulating disability issues, it is important to be diplomatic “to speak the truth with love without hurting”.
He acknowledged that disability issues are prevalent but there will be no success without problems as success is recorded through problem solving.
Similarly, DRAC Nigeria Programs Officer Amaka Agwu stressed the need to stop reports centering on pity or exposing their disability as it brings them into the spotlight or public space for the wrong reasons. .
Agwu said, “It’s important to display images in stories, but images that expose the vulnerability of people with disabilities are inappropriate because you’re using the person’s disability to describe the person and that shouldn’t be the case. , because it is false and stereotyped.
“Yes, we understand the importance of telling the stories of people with disabilities, but these stories must be captured with dignity, as an expression of their human right.
Also, Chris Agbo, from Qualitative Magazine, one of the participants said that when the opportunity for a person with a disability to speak for themselves is denied, that is also discrimination.
“Assuming solutions for a disabled person is already discriminatory. This issue easily limits people with disabilities due to the mindset already interpreted by authorities and the public,” he said.