The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated uncommon passion for inclusive social protection in the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to cater for, among others, the vulnerable in the society.
The minister stated this in Abuja on Thursday at the 2021 FRCN Annual Lecture, with the theme ‘The Imperative of Disability Inclusion in National Transformation’.
In addition, he said, the Buhari Administration has also created the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, NCPWD, headed by an Executive Secretary from the community of persons with disabilities, in the person of James David Lalu, to formulate and implement policies favourable to persons with disabilities.
“Another significant step came in January 2019 with the ratification of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, which has become a major plank for ensuring inclusive social protection in the country.
“It is instructive to note that in all the various social protection programmes of the present administration, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer, the Government Enterprising and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), the N-power and the Home-Grown School Feeding programmes, to mention just a few, special consideration was given to the plight of people with disabilities,” Mr Mohammed said.
According to him, the Buhari Administration has recorded many firsts in the area of disability inclusion by appointing persons with disabilities to his government, including a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters (a Blind); Special Assistant to the President on Disability (Person with Physical Disability); Special Assistant to the President on Special Needs (a Blind); Six Members of the Governing Council of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities as well as Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disability (a Deaf).
The minister also listed the Administration’s achievements in the area of disability inclusion as the accommodation of 100,000 beneficiaries with disabilities in the Conditional cash transfer; Inclusion of 40,000 persons with disabilities in the Batch C, stream 1 of the N-Power programme of the Federal Government; ongoing design and construction of accessibility facilities in three Nigerian Universities (Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and the University of Ilorin)
Other achievements listed by the Minister are the ongoing development of National Assistive Technology Scale-up Strategy/Roadmap, in collaboration with Clinton Health Access Initiative; development of minimum accessibility standard, a policy document that provides detailed accessibility facility requirements for buildings, roads, transportations; and the approval by the Inspector General of Police for the establishment of disability services units in all Nigerian Police formations in the country, in partnership with the National Commission for Persons with Disability, to curb discrimination and other ill treatment of persons with disabilities in Nigeria
He said the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities has commenced the enrolment of Persons with Disabilities in a special health insurance scheme specially designed to commence with 800 pilot beneficiaries cutting across the federation, while the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, is currently developing a National Accessible Housing Programme for Persons with Disability in the FCT and the 36 states, with a view to solving the housing needs of the disability community.
Mr Mohammed commended the FRCN for sustaining its platforms of public engagement beyond news and programming, describing the corporation’s annual lecture series as an opportunity for all to key into the various programmes of government to foster inclusion and participatory governance.