The Honorable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq has urged the Directors in charge of rehabilitation of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), in the Federal and State Government to utilize the services of partners and non-governmental organizations in meeting the need of PWDs in the country.
She disclosed this during a one-day consultative meeting between the Director of Special Needs and other States Directors across the federation and the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.
According to the Minister, “this forum will accord us all the opportunity to rub minds, deliberate and come up with concrete steps towards ensuring that the target group-the disability community, for which we serve, gets our best”.
She said that “ in the course of implementing the Ministry’s mandate, we realized that Government cannot do it alone hence the need for collaboration with other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as Donor Agencies, Corporate Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)”.
“In this regard and over the years, the Ministry has;
• Continually trained visually impaired adults at the Nigeria Fan craft Centre for the Blind and currently has enrolled 56 of them in this 2021/2022 session.
• Provided Assistive Devices and empowerment tools over 5,000 individual Persons With Disabilities through Federal, State and Disability focused NGOs.
• Revised the National Policy on Disability in Nigeria and developed a National Roadmap on Local Production of Assistive Technologies for PWDs in Nigeria.
• Marked the various international disability related days such as; World Autism Awareness Day – 2 April, International Day of Sign Language – 23 September, White Cane Safety/Awareness Day – 15 October, International Day of Persons with Disabilities – 3rd December, etc.
• Participated at world forum for disability eg Conferences of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Sessions of the UN Commission for Social Development, Global Disability Summit.
• Carried out Assessment Visits to 36 States and FCT on Local Producers of Assistive Technologies for PWDs.
• Provide prosthetic limbs to over 467 beneficiaries in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja and Niger State.
• Enhanced the capacities of 71 Teachers, Parents/Caregivers of Children with Special Needs in six States of Adamawa, Kaduna, Lagos, Imo, Oyo, and Delta States.
• Trained and provided cash support to 30 Local Producers of Assistive Devices across the States of the Federation.
• Trained 33 PWDs form the South-Eastern States on Income Generating Activities and provided them with cash support to facilitate establishment of their businesses.
• Distributed COVID-19 Palliative items to Karin-Majiji PWDs colony of FCT.
• Distributed Palliatives across the 36 Sates and FCT which included the PWDs”.
Continuing, “ You will recall that in early 2019, the present Administration signed into law, the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act after suffering many years of setbacks. The Act is to provide for the full integration of PWDs into society which led to the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities vested with the responsibilities for education, health care, social, economic and civil rights of PWDs and other related matters”.
The representative of all the State Director of Rehabilitation, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Jayeola expressed her gratitude to the Federal Government for the role they are playing to ensure that PWDs are restored to a normal fulfilled life and mental health.
The Head of Programmes and Operations of the Leprosy Mission, Mr. Pius Ogbu Sunday said his organization has pushed for the domesticaction of 2019 Discimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act in the States they are working with and that the Leprosy Mission has the capacity to support 21 Disability organizations and offers technical support to the Ministry.
He also said the Leprosy Mission is committing over €500,000 to support the PWDs in Nigeria. This is beside other technical assistance that they intend to provide.
He congratulated the Ministry for facilitating the meeting and for their determination to face the new challenges and finding innovative ways of resolving them. He said that in 2022, the Leprosy Mission will focus on inclusive education, inclusive health, livelihood and economic empowerment.