By Asmau Ahmad & Bilkisu Ado Zango
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Jummai Alhassan has said that, the Federal Government is working towards actualizing passage of the Nigerian Disability Bill made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday at an event to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The theme “Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for people of All Abilities” is geared towards empowering people with disability as part of maintaining the sustainable development goal agenda.
Hajiya Alhassan said disability is one of the major challenges that continually threatens human existence and the attainment of meaningful development, noted that marking the day is a wakeup call towards ensuring domestication of the law in Nigeria.
She explained that the UN conventions on the rights of Persons with Disabilities by Nigeria in 2007 and 2010 is geared towards the development, care and welfare of persons with disabilities also said that the aim of the call is to awaken UN member states towards encouraging and promoting activities that would ensure interaction, mainstreaming and empowerment of persons with disabilities and to promote the understanding of disability issues, stimulate support for dignity, empowerment, among others urged the society to assist and empower people with disabilities, especially in the areas of job creation, health, nutrition, education as well as social protection.
The Minister said it is only when people are empowered that they can prepare to take advantage of opportunities and become agents of change and can more readily embracing their civic responsibilities.
Similarly, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Binta Bello, said the objective of the day is to create awareness, promote understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for dignity and rights of persons with disabilities gave an estimated number of 19 million Nigerians living with disabilities, noted that it is an area that must be given adequate attention.
The Permanent Secretary who urged stakeholders to work out plans towards meeting the needs of such persons, added that budgetary allocations could not shoulder all their needs called for advocacy, sponsorship of public enlightenment workshops on the plight of persons with disabilities, as well as capacity building in information technology, among others indicated that, it is important to provide some of them with gadgets and aids including braille presses/libraries with modern braille gadgets and get sponsored for economic empowerment programmes.
She reiterated that the Ministry of Women Affairs has recruited some persons with disabilities into the Federal Civil Service and has created a disability desk in the office of the head of civil service of the federation, among others called on the private sector and other stakeholders to key into the ministry’s programmes to guarantee their rights and privileges and to ensure an enabling environment.
On his part, the Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, Mr David Anyale, while urging the Federal Government to pass into law the Disability Bill and to evolve measures in the areas of transportation, information, communication to assist such persons added that whenever a part of a person’s body is lost, money, economic, as well as social status is lost.