Wife of Kogi State governor and Founder of Hayat Foundation, Mrs. Amina Bello, has suggested that government should enforce the provision of wheelchairs for physically challenged children and “shut down any school which discriminates against them.”
She told journalists in Abuja how close friends and some family members mocked her for having a son who has cerebral palsy. Bello said she was advised to inject her son with a lethal substance to end the insults.
In her words:
“Schools which discriminate against children who are living with physical and developmental challenges should be shut down. Before you set up a school, it must be accessible to these children with special needs. You must have special teachers or therapists in every class and of course you should be certified fit to open a school for special needs children.
“There is also the stigma which starts from your immediate environment. People will be whispering when a child with special needs or his parents are around. This has made a lot of parents to live in depression. This is the reason why some parents choose to live in denial and lock up such children. I was advised to inject my son with harmful substance and some people advised me to take him to the village.”
Bello called on government to make it compulsory for schools to provide wheelchairs in schools.
The foundation, according to her, will establish an institute that will focus on severe cases of cerebral palsy and open a training centre for behavioural and occupational therapists.