President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has continuously shown envious effort to better the lives of persons with disabilities in Nigeria since he assumed office in 2015.
This drive has reiterated the fact that every member of the society has a right to be provided with every needful opportunities with which to achieve all-round societal development while aiding the development of oneself.
However, majority of persons with disabilities in Nigerian today are deprived of vital human rights and opportunities as they live in abject poverty which has subjected them to lives on the street. A reasonable percentage of these PWD are holders of MSc, BSc and NCE certificate, but in Nigeria, hardly does this matter.
This disparaging and denigrating act is as a result of the ignorance by all to the nature and needs of PWDs, as well as how to enhance adequate provision for these needs. It has therefore forced many PWDs to isolate and withdraw themselves from the society while developing a low self-esteem among other socio-emotional problems.
These anomalies have discouraged parents, friends and guardians from investing. in the education of young PWDs.
The administration’s resilience to integrate persons with disabilities in policy implementation which has been demonstrated in all ramifications has placed values on their existence.
The Buhari-led administration appointed a special assistant on persons with disabilities, signed the long awaited Disability Inclusion Act into law in 2018, gave preference to persons with disabilities in the N-power scheme. All of these attest to the fact that President Buhari’s administration has accorded great concerns to the need of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
Needless to say that the N-power program has helped to re-invigorate and re-incorporate the benefitting PWDs into the society as they have been able to impact and contribute largely to their primary places of assignment and their society at large during this period. The stipends they received during this period served as a source of income for them and also helped them to attend to their immediate needs.
Now that the Federal Government has decided to disengage all N-power beneficiaries, a shadow has been cast on the survival of the PWDs who will be dis-empowered by their disengagement from the N-power program. Will this not lead them back to abject poverty at a time where jobs are not readily available to PWDs?
The president reiterated his commitment to better the lives of persons with disabilities in his Democracy Day broadcast on June 12, 2020, a pledge, he said, will provide PWDs with all necessary support to thrive in the society. Based on this pledge, the Transnational Support Initiative for Persons with Disability (TRANSPED), a non-governmental organization saddled with the responsibility of assisting and advocating for better opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria, urges President Buhari not to subscribe to the dis-empowerement of PWDs as the disengagement from N-power take place nationwide.
TRANSPED humbly appeals to you to use your good offices to make special consideration for PWDs as the disengagement of PWDs from the batch A & B of the N-power program will lead to waste of experience and ultimately lead the PWDs back into poverty.
Consequently, we implore the Federal Government to initiate a round table discussion with PWDs on how to enhance their productivity.
We entreat the supervising ministry headed by Sadiya Farouq to collaborate with the ministry of labour and employment to see to how qualified PWDs who are Batch A & B N-power beneficiaries can be absorbed into the federal civil service and MDAs.
Most imperative is that your ministry should retain these PWDs who benefited from the batch A & B of the Npower program until the process of incorporation into the federal civil service will be completed.
It is our hope that you will treat these requests with kind consideration as we anticipate a call for a discussion on the enhancement of the productivity of person with disabilities.
Timileyin Olonisaye , Abejide Ifeoluwa
National Coordinator , National Secretary
Thursday, June 25, 2020.