ABU Graduate: How varsity denied me admission because of my disability

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Blessing Ocheido, an ABU-trained Nigerian pharmacist has narrated how she suffered discrimination in the pursuit of her dreams to further her education because of her disability.

In a post on her Facebook page on Thursday, Ocheido recalled how Madonna University allegedly denied her admission to study pharmacy in 2008 despite her impressive performance during the interview process.

She said the institution told her mum — who was with her during the interview — that due to her disability, she would not be able to engage in compulsory physical activities students are expected to undergo.

Blessing Ocheido: a nurse living with disability
Blessing Ocheido

The lady also recounted how the development had initially left her shattered. She, however, noted that she later got admission into Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, where she eventually got her degree in pharmacy.

“In 2008, I applied to study pharmacy at Madonna University and I was turned down owing to my disability despite my stellar performance at the interview,” she wrote.

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“They told my mum (whom I went with) that being mobility challenged, I will not be able to participate in their compulsory Saturday morning exercises so there was no place for me at the institution. I remember when we left and how my mum cried her eyes out and told me not to worry. That I was too good for them.”

Ocheido also recounted how she was mocked by people who wondered why she chose to pursue a demanding course such as pharmacy in spite of her condition.

“Anyway, I eventually got my pharmacy degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Even then, there were people who did not want me to graduate as they simply didn’t see why I, as a person with a disability, will dare to aspire to a prestigious course like pharmacy,” she added.

“Why not Home Economics or simply sit at home and be at the mercy of my family members’ kindness? Why did I even dream of financial independence as a girl in a wheelchair? Omo, I don suffer for this Naija sha.”

The pharmacist lamented the prevalence of discrimination against those with disabilities in the country.

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“But seriously though, why are most Nigerian institutions so discriminatory against persons with disabilities?” she queried.

It’s on record that Ahmadu Bello University is one of the few universities in the country with a clear policy that doesn’t discriminate against persons with disabilities in its admission and employment.

Why ABU doesn’t discriminate against persons with disability

Giving an insight into why ABU doesn’t discriminate against physically challenged persons, Professor Yahaya K. Kajuru of the faculty of Education, ABU Zaria, explained that some of the persons living with a disability are more intelligent and committed than their colleagues who are physically alright.

Prof Kajuru who spoke at an event in 2020 organized by the university as part of World Disability Day added that ABU Zaria would continue to give the physically challenged persons more opportunities to explore their potentials.

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

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