Plateau State: Persons living with disabilities protest over leadership appointment

Two factional groups of persons living with disabilities clashed over the nomination of one James Lalu, who was scheduled for screening on Tuesday, February 14th, by the 24 members of the Plateau State House of Assembly. The groups had accused James Lalu of money laundering and diversion of N6.9 million naira meant for the association.

The two factions of the disabled persons held the day sitting to ransom as “Anti-James David Lalu” and the “Pro-James David Lalu” as they protested by blocking major roads and demanding the House of Assembly not to go on with the screening of Lalu for their accusation of his money laundering.

Speaking at the premises of the House of Assembly in Jos on Tuesday, the leader of the Anti-James David Lalu group, Mr Joshua Iyenle, raised concern over the dubious records of the association’s leadership for the past 8 years.

Persons with disabilities carrying protest placards at the House of Assembly in Jos.

Iyenle said for the House to support and go ahead with the screening was condemnable because they saw the nomination as a “lopsided plot” against their wishes.

He further stated that, throughout the tenure of Lalu – during the 8 years – the association witnessed one of the worst experiences where some of their schools in the state were shutdown indefinitely for poor management arising from James Lalu’s corrupt policy.

Mr Iyenle expressed dismay over their letter, dated 7th January, 2017, and copied to the Speaker Plateau State House of Assembly, which according to him, was dumped by members of the House, who refused to listen to their complaints.

He appealed to the government to see that the association is not ready to work with Mr James Lalu as their leader because, as he put it, “When Jang appointed him (Lalu) for 8 years, the deaf, blind, physically-challenged persons suffered untold hardship. We don’t want Lalu.”

The Anti-James David Lalu group accused him of previously using fake letter-headed papers to write to a foreign country in Malaysia and Europe demanding training for (disabled) members, adding that, “he is not a registered member of the association.”

Joshua Iyenle then called on the APC’s change mantra of “rescue administration” to distance itself from a rejected criminal, who is battling with issues of bad records.

Speaker of the House, Hon Peter Azi (standing middle in white) and other members of the House, while addressing the disabled persons on the protest.

In responding, the Speaker of the House, Hon Peter Azi, said “As law makers, we have to abide by the law, because the matter is still in court. This government has listening ears.”

The Speaker stated further that, “If you have gone to court, let the law take its course; the House would have forwarded to its house committee, but can’t do unless the judiciary can handle it.”

In contrast to the allegations labeled against Lalu, a member of the Pro-Lalu group, Mr Ayuba Kadija, rather commended James Lalu’s nomination, saying, “it’s well deserved, because he has worked for the progress of the association.”

According to Kadija, “We have confidence in his leadership; he has made sacrifices to see to the development of the persons with disabilities in the state participating in government policies,” vehemently condemning all allegations of corruption labelled against James Lalu.


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