Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, says People Living with Disabilities (PWDs) will also benefit from the Federal Government’s intervention to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Mrs Farouq made this known during her address at a programme for PWD stakeholders on Thursday in Abuja.
“This meeting is apt, especially in this challenging period of COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is expected that we factor how PWDs can benefit from the federal government intervention aimed at cushioning the effect of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
“In addition, the utmost objective of this meeting is that, at the end of it, we shall come up with the modalities on how to carry the PWDs along in the plans and activities of the ministry.
” And to also find out the gaps in policies and challenges facing persons with disabilities in Nigeria,” Mrs Farouq said.
According to her, PWDs in our society today are faced with many barriers in all aspects of societal life.
“As a result, they do not enjoy full access to societal life on an equal basis with others, especially in the areas of transportation, healthcare, employment, education as well as social and political participation.
“To address this, on my assumption of duty, I immediately appointed a Special Assistant on Special Needs to coordinate and liaise with PWDs in Nigeria.
“Let me at this juncture reiterate the federal government’s commitment toward enhancing the living conditions of all Nigerians, especially the vulnerable in the society,” she said.
Also speaking, Jake Epelle, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Albino Foundation, appreciated Farouq for hosting the meeting, amidst the lockdown order.
Mr Epelle said considering the enormous responsibilities of the ministry, there was need for the establishment of a department for disability in the ministry.
“Also data is very important. The reason why we are struggling on intervention is because we don’t have data.
“INEC was able to deliver because they have data. We were able to give them clusters of PWDs,” Mr Epelle said.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that those present at the meeting included, Association of Blind in Abuja, Deaf Association of Nigeria and Joint National Association of PWDs.
Others were Network of Disabled Women, Advocate for Women with Disability among others.