Commuters and motorists in Owerri, capital of Imo State, have continued to suffer as a result of the protest by physically-challenged people in the state, which had disrupted the flow of traffic.
The protest, which had entered the third day yesterday, has continued to disrupt vehicular traffic within Owerri, while the protesters have remained adamant. A motorist, Mr. Damian Erondu, called for an end to the incessant demonstrations by the physically-challenged people, stating that, “we are tired of this endless protests by the disabled people. They seem to be taking advantage of their condition to blackmail the government.” Another driver, who preferred anonymity, lamented that, “we have suffered unduly as a result of these protests. I think it is about time government took a decisive action to end this impunity.
This is not the only state where we have physically- challenged people.” The protesters, numbering about two hundred, converged at the Government House gate, and blocked one side of the road, resulting to heavy gridlock around the road and other adjoining roads. They chanted anti-government songs and displayed placards with inscriptions like, ‘the government is unfair to physically-challenged people’, ‘we need our Christmas gifts’ and ‘pay us our Christmas bonus’ among others, and insisted on having audience with the state Governor, Rochas Okorocha.
A member of the group, Henry Amamchukwu told journalists that unemployment and non-release of subventions were also part of their grievances. The President–General Joint National Association of Persons living with Disabilities in Imo State, Dr. Stanley Nwachukwu, who was recently appointed as Executive Adviser to the Governor on the Disabled Matters, said that government had been making efforts to meet some of the demands of his members.