FG to facilitate passage of Disability Bill

Hajiya Jummai Alhassan, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, on Thursday, said Federal Government was working toward actualising the passage of the Nigerian Disability Bill.

She made the disclosure in Abuja on Thursday at an event to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with the theme “Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for people of All Abilities.’’

The theme was geared towards empowering people with disability as part of maintaining the sustainable development goal agenda.

She said disability was one of the major challenges that continually threatened human existence and the attainment of meaningful development, noting that marking the day was a wakeup call toward 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 were geared toward the development, care and welfare of persons with disabilities.

The minister also said that the aim of the call was to awaken UN member states toward encouraging and promoting activities that would ensure interaction, mainstreaming and empowerment of persons with disabilities.

“It was also meant to promote the understanding of disability issues and stimulate support for dignity, empowerment, among others.

She then 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.

She 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 embrace their civic responsibilities.’’

Mrs Binta Bello, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, said the objective of the day was to create awareness, promote understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for dignity and rights of persons with disabilities.

Bello, who gave an estimated number of 19 million Nigerians living with disabilities, noted that it was an area that must be given adequate attention.

The permanent secretary urged stakeholders to work out plans toward meeting the needs of such persons, adding that budgetary allocations could not shoulder all their needs.

She 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.

“It is also important to provide some of them with braille presses/libraries with modern braille gadgets and get sponsored for economic empowerment programmes.’’

She said the Ministry of Women Affairs had recruited some persons with disabilities into Federal Civil Service and had created disability desks in the office of the head of civil service of the federation, among others.

She urged the private sector and other stakeholders to key into the ministry’s programmes to guarantee the rights and privileges and ensure an enabling environment for persons with disabilities.

Mr Dennis Okoro , the Director, MTN Foundation, said taking care of persons with disabilities was part of the sustainable development goals.

He said MTN Foundation had given scholarships to 421 blind students to any school of their choice to empower them and paid N200,000 tuition fees per session to some disabled students.

He said the Foundation had committed N120 million to the scheme with the aim of supporting their education.

Mr David Anyale, the Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, urgedthe Federal Government to pass into law the Disability Bill.

He said “whenever a part of a person’s body is lost, money, economic, as well as social status is lost.”

He also urged the Federal Government to evolve measures in the areas of transportation, information, communication to assist such persons.



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