The National Commission for Persons with Disability (NCPWD) is seeking a partnership with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities.
The executive secretary of NCPWD, James Lalu, disclosed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the CAN president, Daniel Okoh, in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr Lalu said the visit aimed to see how the NCPWD could work with the church to promote the rights of PWDs in Nigeria. According to him, there are many Christians with disabilities across the world.
He said PWDs needed to come closer to the church to enjoy the word of salvation.
“As Christians in the disability community, we have different experiences. There is an incident of a cleric who was forced to retire because he lost his sight. We find it so painful because the church is where the less-privileged and PWDs expect to find comfort, just like Jesus Christ gave comfort to PWDs in the Bible,” Mr Lalu explained.
He added, “We want to partner with the church to enable us to undertake advocacy for disability inclusion development. We want the church to set aside a day to celebrate PWDs. We want maximum support from CAN and the 36 states, including FCT, to sponsor PWDs on pilgrimages because it will bring them closer to God.”
The NCPWD chief further mentioned that the commission “wants churches to support the education of PWDs. It will also be good to build the capacity of the clergy, so they understand the rights of PWDs and know them better.”
Mr Okoh commended the commission for the visit and its plans for disabled persons.
“I want to offer myself to be patron of the disability community. I have witnessed disability and lived with it. I have pastors who have children with disabilities. I see this as an opportunity to work with you. I want to assure you that we will partner with you on the disability summit,” said the CAN president.
He disclosed that the association was already working “on accessibility” for the disabled.
“There was a time that CAN gave directive to all churches to design their building to be disability-friendly. However, we will continue to gradually introduce these things in the structure of CAN because we recognise PWDs,” the Christian leader in Nigeria stated.
Mr Okoh further said, “On the issue of pilgrimage, we will continue to recommend that PWDs be considered. And also, you can approach the Christian Pilgrims Board.”
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