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Visually impaired people to protest

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Visually impaired people and physically challenged members of the Liberian society are threatening to protest to demand government’s attention to their plight.

Speaking via mobile phone on OK FM, a spokesperson for the group, physically challenged Francis Siplay, says while they welcome President Weah’s Annual Message to the 54th Legislature, there was nothing contained in the speech about addressing the plight of physically challenged and visually impaired Liberians.

“We want to thank President George M. Weah for his deliberation, but what is frustrating to us, we did not hear anything that concerns the visually impaired people, and people with disabilities”, he laments.

The Group of 77, a national body of citizens with disabilities is by legislation, placed under the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia currently occupied by Chief Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor, first female Vice President.

Francis notes that citizens in this category constitute about16 percent of the country’s population, and there was need for the President to have addressed their plight in his speech.

“We cannot be abandoned simply because of our condition, we make up a very huge portion of our population, and we deserve to be treated like every other citizen, and give all of the necessary attentions as compared to other citizens”, he underscores.

He recalls the government’s Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development or PAPD, launched last year by President Weah in Ganta, Nimba County highlights key portion that says people with disabilities should receive monthly allowance, but they are yet to receive a dime.
Francis warns if nothing is done to address their condition or respond to the allowance issue as contained in the PAPD document, they would come up with a strong statement that will grab President Weah’s attention.

He notes that every other day they receive people who suffered various kinds of injuries in the country, which increases the population of people with disabilities.

Francis laments that it is frustrating that the government would mention the visually impaired and physically challenged people in the PAPD document, but fail to implement what is documented.

By Lewis S. Teh –Editing by Jonathan Browne

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