Folks recall the terrible reception the Nigerian Paralympic Championship team received when they returned to their country? I’ll remind you. The designated government officials never showed up to even say, ‘Welcome.’ That was quite painful for them and for many, including myself. I blogged about it and so did others. The President has now remedied the situation. You can read an excerpt below. However, let’s take a moment to really understand the plight of the disabled in Nigeria. For me, personally, the images of the disabled in Nigeria haunted by dreams for over a decade when I returned to the USA. They were always everywhere when I was in Nigeria and as a child, I was so perplexed with how they lost their arms, legs etc.
I recall in navigating my way through public transportation from Ejigbo to Ikeja to go to grade school i.e. Command Day Secondary School Ikeja, I ran into many disabled persons, daily, for three years. My routine was to take a bus, usually from Isolo because of the horrific traffic jam i.e. go slow leading up to Isolo bridge. I and my siblings would get out of our family car, begin walking all the way from, sometimes Ejigbo, walk across the bridge to Isolo bus stop and then take a couple of buses usually the yellow danfos or molues to Oshodi. Arriving at Oshodi, we walked through Oshodi market and went through the back route towards the military cantonment where our school was located; walking through the army barracks before getting to our destination. It was almost a three (3) hour journey given traffic jams.
Just before we hit the army barracks, there was a railroad track. Lined up on that railroad track was what looked like a sea of disabled people. Usually they were Mallams (Northerners) and their families. As a child, the first time I saw this scene, I was terrified. They were so many physically disabled people and so much more that walked on their hands, one leg, were blind and the list goes on. Those images never left me and I have wondered for so long what can be done about the disabled, especially the ones thousands, if not millions, of Nigerians encounter in traffic jams, daily, on freeways. In the mid 2000s when I visited the country, after so many years, nothing had changed with the plight of the disabled. The Nigerian Government needs to work harder with Lagos leading the way on its disabled population.
The Terrible Reception of Nigeria’s Paralympians
President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday rewarded members of the Nigerian team to the 2012 London Paralympic Games and the national under-20 women football team (the Falconets).
At a reception held for both teams at State House Banquet Hall in Abuja, Mr Jonathan announced the conferment of the Member of the Order of Niger (MON) on six Paralympics athletes who won gold medals at the Games where Nigeria placed 22nd overall among 164 participating countries, and finished third behind Tunisia and South Africa among African countries.
The team of 29 athletes and 19 officials had won six gold, five silver and two bronze medals at the Paralympic Games.
The six gold medallists, who are all powerlifters and will be decorated on Monday in Abuja, include Yakubu Adesokan, who set a new world record in the men’s -48 k; Grace Anozie, Ivory Nwokorie, Loveline Obiji, Joy Onaolapo and Esther Oyema.
Mr Jonathan also announced a cash reward of N5 million for each gold medallist, while the five silver medallists were rewarded with N3 million each.
The two bronze medallists in the Paralympic team were also rewarded with N2 million each, while the team officials were each rewarded with N2.5 million.
Other members of the Paralympic team who did not win any medal at the Games, which was held from 29 August to 9 September, were also rewarded with N500, 000 Naira each.
The president further announced a reward of N1 million each for the women football team while their officials are to receive N1.2 million each. . .” –Channels TV has the full story.
BASIC EDUCATION ON THE PLIGHT OF THE DISABLED IN NIGERIA