The National Coalition of Wheelchair Users in Nigeria (NACOWIN), on Wednesday, advised the elderly in the society to embrace the use of wheelchairs.

The Convener of the group, Yusuf Iyodo, gave the advice in Abuja in commemoration of the International Wheelchair Day, annually commemorated around the world on March 1.

The day is to celebrate the positive impact that a wheelchair has on the lives of users.

Iyodo, who lauded the positive impact that wheelchair has in the lives of users, also celebrated those who provide others with the mobility tool.

He said that sensitisation was needed on wheelchair usage, especially among the elderly, the sick and those who were unable to walk long distances.

The convener said that the use of wheelchair should not only be attributed to weakness but to strength and courage, especially as its users were often faced with the daily challenges of inaccessible environment and space.

He said “wheelchair users are extremely strong people who have to put up with the negative mentality of people who see them in negative light.

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“In reality, the wheelchair is not a curse but a miracle; it is an enabler, a saviour and a life-enhancement tool. So caution should be thrown at people who abuse wheelchair users.”

Iyodo commended paralympians and sports men and women who compete on wheelchair, as well as other professionals who go about their daily ventures on wheelchair.

He noted that many of them were bread winners of their families and had become positive reference points and source of inspiration for others.

He called on the government and well-meaning individuals to continue to put in place enabling environment for wheelchair users to thrive, to participate in life endeavours and to be productive members of the society.

He urged environmental specialists, builders, planners, architects and engineers to adhere to the provision of the National Disability Law.

He said “as the world marks International Day of Wheelchair Users, it is important for stakeholders and members of the society to make the society accessible and inclusive.”

The International Day of Wheelchair Users was founded in 2008 by Steve Wilkinson, who was born with Spina Bifida and has used a wheelchair for most of his life.(NAN)