Do you know how excruciatingly difficult it is to live in Nigeria as a physically or mentally challenged person? Have you ever imagined how they commute, shop or go about their normal businesses? Do you know that most buildings in Nigeria including public ones do not have facilities for physically challenged people to access them easily?
Have you ever seen a person on a wheel chair shopping in a supermarket? Do you know that most schools, banks and other organizations have no provisions for the physically challenged? A visually impaired person cannot even attempt to function in Nigeria. There are no signs on our bad roads that even allows them to cross safely. No special place for them in the almost non existent public transport system.
No bank in this country has brailed tellers to help the visually impaired to write when they come. There are no desks and other facilities both for the physically challenged and visually impaired. Let us not even talk about those with mental challenges. Unfortunately, even our Churches and Mosques don’t have provisions for these category of persons.
Imagine a physically challenged person having the need to visit the restroom in public. Someone will need to help them all through out of “pity” because there are no provisions for them. The late Chinua Achebe once granted an interview where he said that he decided to spend the rest of his life in the US because there were no facilities in Nigeria to assist people like him to live a dignified life without being at the mercy of people.
There are many aspects where Nigeria as a country is not ready yet. But when it comes to the care of the physically and mentally challenged, we haven’t even started. They all have to depend on others to show them pity. That is why most of them take to begging as a means of survival.
Unfortunately, most political parties to fulfill all righteous usually reserve a space for the physically challenged on their board. That is where it ends. I haven’t heard any meaningful government policy over the years that was meant to make life more comfortable or meaningful for them.
In a country where the leaders think, all buildings and public places must ensure that provisions are made for the physically challenged as a condition to even operate or build. Let it be that they didn’t come.
Those accusing Aisha Yesufu of sending her challenged son to school in the UK should read this piece. No responsible parent with a special needs child and that can afford it will allow them remain in this country. Besides, those who are not even challenged, how well have they functioned???