By Aluta News
December 14, 2021
NGO seeks more funding to tackle challenges facing persons with disabilities
An advocacy group, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), has called for proper funding of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to enable it touch the lives of persons with disabilities in the country.
Grace Jerry, Executive Director of IFA, made the call on Monday in Abuja, during a round table to commemorate the 2021 International Day for Persons with Disabilities (IDPD).
She said that the National Assembly should ensure that the 2022 budget of the commission is good enough to make an impact and turn around the lives of persons with disabilities.
According to her, this is necessary to ensure effective participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of life in the post-COVID-19 era.
The event has as its theme: ‘Leadership and Participation towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World’.
She said government should engage persons with disabilities in the democratic process to combat discrimination, abuse, counter prejudices and protect their rights.
Jerry said it is also important for government to ensure their inclusion in all facets of life on an equal basis with other people.
She stressed the need for the speedy implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, to enable the communities of PWDs deploy their huge potentials, values and talents to the development of the country.
“We call on all DPOs, PWDs, other Nigerian citizens and the international community to support the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in implementing policies that would help PWDs cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We call on all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for implementing the Disability Act to develop policies that will ensure the implementation of the Act.
“We urge the government to develop a PWD emergency national action plan to respond to the needs of PWDs during the pandemic and beyond,” she added.
The executive director said government and other relevant agencies should have an emergency preparedness plan covering the needs of PWDs to avoid reactive measures such as it occurred in the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
“IFA celebrates the PWDs community on this day for their resilience, dedication and continuous engagement with various government structures across the globe towards achieving an inclusive system that will ensure the rights of PWDs.”
Jerry said “as an organisation of PWDs, we recognize the efforts of all implementing MDAs as they are not unnoticed and with emphasis that, this meeting is not to witch-hunt any MDAs but rather to document the gains made and challenges, and pave the way for collaborations in order to provide adequate recommendations to better the lot of over 30 million PWDs.”
The executive director thanked IFA partners, the National Democratic Institute, United States Agency for International Development and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office for their unrelenting assistance to the Access Nigeria Campaign.
In his keynote address, Jide Ojo, Executive Director, OJA Development Consult, said the way forward is for Nigeria to ensure effective participation of PWDs in politics and governance.
According to him, there is also the need to pay prime attention to the faithful implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act.
Ojo said that the NCPWD should be well financed to enable it perform its core mandate optimally.
He also canvassed “more election friendly policies and programmes by INEC and political parties such as provision of assistive devices for PWDs.”
According to him, such measures should include waiver of nomination fees for PWDs wanting to contest for political offices and an amendment of the Constitution to have elective seats reserved for PWDs.
He, however, added that PWDs should join registered political parties en masse, to bring about the desired change.
Ojo said the changes required are in tackling challenges of inclusivity, access, participation and sustainability.
“There is the need for change of mindset of the general public to see PWDs as human beings with rights and privileges,” he added.
Mr Bashir Alkali, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said the international day of persons with disabilities is to bring to the fore, the need for inclusive, accessible and sustained action with regard to PWDs in the nation’s development agenda.
“The government, through the Ministry, is more than ever committed to implement policies and programmes that are targeted to ensuring inclusive, accessible and sustained post COVID-19 initiatives for persons with disabilities,” he said.
Also, Mr Bem Aga, Programme Director, National Democratic Institute, said they would continue to support the campaign on the plight of PWDs in all sectors of national development.
He commended all support groups like the USAID, UKaid and IFA for their partnership through out the year, and pledged the NDI’s continued support to the over 30 million PWDs, for more inclusivness in government.
Aga said the NDI would give a push for the implementation of the disability Act.