Umar Farouq Seeks Global Best Standards For Persons With Disabilities In Nigeria  

Joel Ajayi

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq has appealed to the Federal government to make public buildings and other infrastructure in the country including airports, railways, motor parks, and schools, accessible to Persons With Disabilities in Nigeria.

Minister made the plea when she presented the Chairman, Members of Council, and the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at the Presidential Villa.

In a statement issued by the  Minister’s Senior Assistant on Media Nneka Ikem Anibeze on Friday in Abuja.   Farouq thanked the President for responding favorably to the aspirations of the Disability community by assenting to the National Disability Act and the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities but noted that the Disability community in the country has been excluded from basic amenities.

She said that over 95% of public buildings in the country were not accessible to persons with Disabilities while the majority were in need of assistive devices and technologies to improve access to education and learning.

“There is a need for proactive measures to curtail the negative attitude towards Persons With Disabilities by creating mass awareness, eliminating discriminations in all forms, and improving their livelihood. The need for precise data on Persons With Disabilities and the issuance of disability certificates are significant in ensuring that the benefits of this Commission are accurately provided for the targeted population to avoid manipulations of Government’s effort”.

Also, she explained that PWDs have been provided with relief items and palliatives to ensure their inclusion in the ministry’s activities and in all social investment programmes.

“Today thousands of persons with disabilities have been touched directly through several of our intervention programmes”.

Umar Farouq appealed for the government’s continued support to ensure a dignified way of life for all persons with disabilities in Nigeria.

In his response, President Muhammadu Buhari charged the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to play its roles adequately in the realization of government’s the objective of lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty.

“Your appointments were no mistake as you were all selected after careful evaluation and assessment of your good conduct and contribution to society and the disabled community in Nigeria.

“The task before you is enormous.  You must work diligently towards ensuring that the Government is able to touch the lives of our fellow citizens with special needs despite our limited resources.”

The President assured that his administration will continue to give effect to treaties that give inclusivity to persons with disabilities:

“Nigeria is a signatory and a state party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which seeks to promote the inclusion of persons with special needs in all development efforts globally.  Under my leadership, the Government shall continue to give effect to all global, regional, and sub-regional treaties that seek to improve the lives of our disadvantaged citizens.”

The Senate had earlier screened and approved the appointment of Hon. Dr. Husseinin Hassan Kangiwa from the North West as Chairman of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in line with Sections 32(3) and 40(1) of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act of 2019.

Other members include; Mrs. Esther Andrew Anwu Member, North Central; Mr. Abba Audu Member, North East; Ms. Amina Rahma Audu Member, North West; Mr. Jaja Oparaku Member, south-East; Ms. Philomena I Konwea Member, South-South; Mr. Omopariola Busuyi Member, South West and Mr. James David Lalu Executive Secretary North Central.

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