March 25, 2014

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Nigeria – The Autism, Down Syndrome and Other Developmental Disabilities Bill was sponsored by Mr Jerry Alagbaoso in the wake of awareness campaigns
on autism in 2011.

The Star Online reports that the President of Women Arise, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, said that the bill which has had its second reading and has been assigned to a committee, has become marooned at that stage.

Odumakin said:

“Nigeria as a country should realize the great need for taking action to spread awareness about autism.”

She goes om to further add that the Autism, Down Syndrome and Other Developmental Disabilities Bill has remained marooned at the committee level in the House of Representatives.

Odumakin spoke to newsmen after a march organised by Autism Associates with the collaboration of civil society organisations and Punuka Foundation.

She said:

“This march today is a wake-up call for the Speaker of the House, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal to demonstrate leadership and motivate the House to make every effort to speedily pass the bill, which has long been gathering dust, into law before the next Democracy Day celebration as a fitting democracy dividend to ameliorate the agony experienced daily by parents of children living with autism and other developmental disabilities.”

Okey-Martins Nwokolo, a psychologist and National Coordinator of Autism Associates and the Centre for Autism and Developmental Disabilities also spoke at the march and stated the extremely low level of awareness about autism in the country and that children are not being diagnosed early enough when therapy is most effective.

The full article by Ugochukwu Onyeocha on the Daily Times NG website can be found here


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