The Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, has said that with adequate knowledge, skills and resources, Persons Living with Special Needs can be job employers, rather than job seekers.
The Minister made this call Friday at the closing ceremony of the 5-day training programme for People Living With Disabilities (PLWD’S) organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency at Enugu State. The 50 participants trained were all given laptops, internet dongles, laptop bags and cash.
Pantami, while giving the closing remark, said that the population of persons living with special needs, as he prefers to call them, in the world is over 785 million, according to the World Health Organization, which is almost four times the population of Nigeria as a country. He, therefore, averred that a responsible society will give them priority and preference. He said that the training was in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria which was launched on the 28th November 2019, by President Mohammad Buhari GCFR.
He admonished all participants to consider the training as an opportunity because there are millions of people living with special needs in Nigeria who do not have the opportunity of being trained directly like them.
The Honoroble Minister admonished the participants to take good advantage of the facilities and support given to them through this training. He advised them to keep them safe in order to continue working with it. “Consider the training to be a foundation of your becoming a digital entrepreneur”, the Minister added. He cited examples of previous beneficiaries of the same training programme from Abuja, Oyo and Gombe states who have now established their own businesses through the knowledge acquired.
Pantami urged all participants to extend the knowledge and skills acquired at the training programme to train their family members which will make them job providers, rather than job seekers. “I urge you to extend the knowledge and skills you have acquired here to your family, friends and associates thereby bridging the digital divide we have in Nigeria” he said.
The Honourable Minister commended the National Information Technology Development Agency’s Board, Director General and the Management for organizing the programme and for the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy while urging them to extend the training to other states in the country. He particularly thanked the Enugu State Government for supporting to host the programme and hoped for continued cooperation and partnership for the benefit of its residents.
The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, while giving a welcome address earlier said that; “the exclusion and marginalization of Persons Living with Special Needs is a human right violation as well as economic issue for the country”.
Abdullahi noted that on the 25th of January 2019, President Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR, signed into law, the discrimination of persons with disability provision act and that the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has been implementing the National Digital Economy Policy for Digital Nigeria.
“Digital technology can break traditional barriers to communication, interaction and access to information”, the DG stated. He told the participants that technology will make all their challenges possible and therefore urged them to use the knowledge they have acquired from the training to make all that was impossible for them, possible.
The Executive Governor of Enugu State who was represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on ICT, Mr Emeka Ani, thanked the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy for the initiative and particularly thanked the Director General of NITDA for the implementation of the initiative. “Enugu state will continue to give all the support, cooperation and collaboration to NITDA and to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy” he assured.