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2019 Disability Day: Minister of Humanitarian Affairs lists achievements



2019 Disability Day: Minister of Humanitarian Affairs lists achievements



Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development


Hajiya Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has listed achievements made by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari toward a better life for physically challenged Nigerians.

Farouq spoke at a press briefing to mark the 2019 International Day of Persons living with Disabilities (PWDs), on Monday in Abuja.

She said that Dec. 3 of every year was declared International Day of PWDs by the UN General Assembly following Resolution 43/3 of 14th October, 1992.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Promoting the participation of PWDs and their leadership: Taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda”.

“The country has achieved a great feat by signing and assenting to the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition), Act 2018 by Mr President. This was done after 18 years of long struggle.

“The ministry participated at the 2nd World Disability Summit and 12th Session of Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention on the Right of PWDs at Buenos Aires, Argentina.

“These fora provided platforms for sharing experience/lessons learnt and building network on issues of disability worldwide, and strategies for tackling identified challenges were shared among nations.

“The ministry equally participated in an international training course of Empowering PWDs and Special needs.

“The Ministry was able to reopen the Nigeria Farmcraft Centre for the Blind, Lagos for admission of trainees, after two years of closure.

“Forty trainees are at the point of concluding their trainings at the centre which was renovated with support from the Government of Japan,” she said.

She emphasised that the Federal Government, through the ministry, had supported PWDs on an annual basis with various forms of devices and economic empowerment materials.

Farouq hinted that a step-down training was also conducted for teachers and caregivers of children with special needs.

“I wish to restate that we all must join hands, especially in line with this year’s theme, to promote the participation of PWDs and their leadership, leveraging on the 17 goals of the 2030 Development Agenda,” she said.

General news

Educationist urges disability friendly facilities in public places



Mrs Comfort Olusegun, an educationist,  has urged government at all levels to strive to construct disability friendly facilities for disabled persons in the country.

Olusegun, a proprietress of a private school in Ilorin, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Ilorin.

She noted that d most facilities in public places across the country were too stressful for physically challenged persons to cope with and enjoy.

According to her, most existing hospitals and schools have staircases where one needs to climb before accessing, which is usually difficult for the physically challenged in the country to cope with.

“Government must consider the physically challenged when constructing facilities where wheel chairs can easily ride in.

“Even most schools have their classes up stairs, where the physically challenged find it difficult to navigate through, unless they are helped.

“It is time for the government to put the disabled persons into consideration before constructing any facility especially in our hospitals and schools.

“We cannot be stressing them unnecessarily.

”Most seats in public places often times cannot be used by physically challenged persons. Most times, it is either the chairs are too high or too low for them. Government must include them in their plans,” she said.

The proprietress also advised the public to stop discriminating against them and relate with them as expected.

“Disability is not a disease, relate with them and support them wherever you come across one. They need us more than food,” she said.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: Centre sensitises  people with disability  on virtual communication



The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities and a medical doctor, Ejike Oji, have sensitised  Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs) on virtual communication to curtail the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sensitisation which took place on Friday  had the  theme:“COVID-19 and Persons with Disabilities’’.

It was held through a webinar facilitated by the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)  in partnership  with   Action Aid and funder UKAID.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that those who participated in the webinar include  state chairmen of the Joint National Associations of Persons with Disabilities  from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

Media professionals and members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) also participated at the event.

Oji, Chairman Medical Subcommittee, FCT Ministerial Expert Advisory Committee on COVID-19, said at the event that  there was the need to sensitise PLWDs on COVID-19 because they were vulnerable.

According to him, COVID-19 is at the  community transmission stage in Nigeria; hence, the need for  PLWDs to be more careful to avoid infection.

He said that PLWDs should take responsibility by sanitising their assistive devices, making sure their helpers put on face masks, and avoiding crowded places.

“Ensure you adhere to the preventive measures against COVID-19.

“Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, maintain physical distancing, sneeze into tissues and dispose same properly or sneeze into elbows  and use alcohol-based sanitisers,’’ Oji advised.

Oji also enlightened the participants on the symptoms of COVID-19 and advised them to seek help when necessary.

Mr David Anyaele, Executive Director, CCD, said that the event  was to enhance COVID-19 behavioral change among Nigerians with disabilities since  the virus would not discriminate.

“It is part of the centre’s  response to COVID-19 pandemic and persons with disabilities.

This COVID-19 response is to enhance COVID-19 behavioral change among Nigerians with disabilities as the virus does not discriminate.

“The panic created by coronavirus across the world, starting from Wuhan, China, led to total lockdown of nations and staying at home for more than 4.5 billion persons worldwide,” he said.

According to him, when a disaster occurs,  persons with disabilities bear the greatest pains arising from it.

“It is by the grace of God that many of us with disabilities are still living today.

“We are worried that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is yet to inform us of how many confirmed COVID-19 cases are persons with disabilities

“As leaders of persons with disabilities, it becomes imperative for us to deepen our knowledge on COVID-19  in order to guide our response to our clusters and communities.

CCD commits to capacity building of persons with disabilities on behavourial change on COVID-19, and support for state systems on response and recovery,’’ he said.

Anyaele called on governments  to give special consideration to PLWDs  in their   community mobilisation and sensitisation on COVID-19.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

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COVID-19: Al-Makura distributes palliatives to people with disability in Nasarawa



Sen. Umaru Al-Makura, (APC– Nasarawa South), has donated cash and rice to persons living with disabilities in his constituency to cushion the effect of Coronavirus pandemic.

Al-Makura told newsmen in Lafia on Saturday shortly after the exercise that besides the donation, sensitisation to prevent contracting COVID-19 was also carried out to enlighten the disabled on steps to take to prevent spread of the virus.

According to the senator, the palliatives and sensitisation will offer the disabled relief and reduce their vulnerability to the virus hence his decision to reach out to them.

He added that he had to also support them given the restrictions imposed by the state government to curb the spread of the virus.

“This category of people has been deprived of substantial and enough sensitisation and enlightenment against this very dangerous disease.

“It makes me feel that people with disabilities are highly vulnerable to this disease because some of them don’t have enough information and enlightenment.

“Some of them don’t have the means to distance themselves from this disease like you can see,  quite a number of them are beggars.

“They go to beg  in order to live and now we are in a period of lockdown in a state where movements are not allowed.

“So they are not likely to have any opportunity to provide for themselves for the day.

“I feel it is part of our responsibilities as a society and their representatives that our support, enlightenment and sensitisation should be all inclusive.

“That is why I decided that this sensitisation and support should be specifically for the blind, lame, leprous, deaf,  the crippled and those with autism,” he said.

Al-Makura explained further that the gesture was in continuation of his commitment to give back to his constituency and to support all groups of people in his constituency irrespective of class, condition, religion or ethnic background.

He urged well meaning Nigerians especially those who had the means and from Nasarawa South senatorial zone to lend a helping hand to the people in the zone especially  the old and vulnerable in terms of sensitisation and material support.

“I feel the most vulnerable group as it is now are the people with disabilities.

“I feel we should come to their aid by giving them enough enlightenment and support as much as we can so that they will also be protected against this deadly disease,” he said.

The senator added that as long as people  in his constituency were advised to restrict their movements,  the distribution of palliatives by his office would continue to meet the yearnings of the people of his constituency.

He said it would also reduce the hardship instigated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is my constituency. There are people with disability that I cherish so much. They are so dear to my heart, that is why I make a priotrity to share these items to them,” he said.

He also called on Muslims in his constituency to be their brothers keeper during the Ramadan in terms of supporting one another, given the restrictions in place.

“My Ramadan message to people of my constituency and people of Nasarawa state is to be our brothers keeper.

“The Ramadan this time around is quite a difficult task because the lockdown is in place and enforced, so the opportunity of earning a living is becoming difficult daily.

“So I feel we should extend some kind of charity to our neighbours, to our brothers, to our constituents and especially people who are disabled.

“So I believe the Ramadan period is a time to reflect and see how much goodwill we can extend to the less privileged,” he said.

News Agency of Nigeria , reports that the Senator had also recently donated 3,000 bags of rice to people of his constituency to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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CCD urges FG to fast track take off of National Disability Commission



The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has urged the Federal Government to fast track the setting up of National Disability Commission to manage activities of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria.

Mr David Anyaele, CCD Executive Director, said this on Tuesday in an interview with Nigeria News Agency , against the backdrop of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed recently for creation of a disability data bank in Nigeria.

NAN reports that federal government on March 12, collaborated with the Basic Registry and Information System in Nigeria (BRISIN), to create the First Disability Data Bank in the country’s history.

The MoU was signed by Dr Samuel Ankeli, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Disability Matters with Dr Anthony Uwa, Head of BRISIN.

Anyaele said that the establishment of the disability commission was paramount for the implementation of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

“While we agree that data is critical for effective implementation of the national disability act, it is more important that government structure its approach in a manner that ensures sustainability.

“We are of the opinion that rather than signing MoU, government should set up the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in compliance with the provisions of Disabilities Act.

“The federal government should implement without further delay section 2 of the act by taking appropriate measures to raise awareness on the rights, dignity and contributions of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Anyaele said that the organisation had resolved to continue to draw the attention of the governments on its roles and responsibilities to ensure full implementation of the act.

He said that the establishment of the law and the implementation of the law was one of the key ways to ensure that PWDs were included in all government plans and polices.

Edited By: Shittu Obassa/Ali Baba-Inuwa


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FG moves to create first disability data bank in Nigeria



Dr Samuel Ankeli, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, is collaborating with the Basic Registry and Information System in Nigeria (BRISIN), to create a disability data bank for the country.

Ankeli, while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Head, BRISIN implementation, Dr Anthony Uwa, on Thursday in Abuja, said the data bank would be the first in the history of Nigeria.

”This is the first time in the history of this country, a concrete action is taken by any government towards building a system for data governance.

”The data bank will give room for accurate planning and management of People Leaving With Disability (PLWD).

”The data bank to the ordinary person with disability is a big hope, a bright light at the end of the tunnel. It is good planning and good budgeting.

”It is a good access to funds that will help for the policy, programmes and projects that will support their lives; it is employment, social recognition, political inclusion.

”It is an all round developmental strategy we intend to operate that will bring to bear resources that we have, made properly utilised for their (PLWD) welbeing and welfare.

”It will give them a future, ensure and secure generations that are yet to come and for those who are existing now, it will make their lives better than it is now, ” Ankeli said.

The SSA to the President, said: “we (Nigerians) have all failed in our responsibility towards people living with disabilities.”

He noted that PLWD are Gods creation who deserved better treatment from all by obligation.


Ankeli,  however, urged Nigerians at all levels to create an impact that would ensure social change, economic improvement and political inclusion for PLWD.

He added that President  Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was doing its best to also discourage the act of begging that was common among PLWD in the country.

The Head of BRISIN implementation, Uwa, in his remarks,  said the MoU Was the foundation that would move the country forward and ensure adequate and accurate data system in the country.

”It is foundational for management, planning, budgeting, and any service you want to render.

”The foundation layed today is not just for people living with disability but for every Nigerian,”Uwa said.

He said all PLWD would be captured in the project as the capturing would begin from the ward to the local government, state and then the federal level.

According to Uwa, the people will not just be captured and left, but a structure will be built and activities will be opened for their benefit.

Uwa while reiterating the importance of BRISIN implementation in the country, said it could help tackle the issue unemployment in the country.

He said with adequate cooperation and support of the government, Nigerians in the diaspora, well wishers and other well meaning and patriotic Nigerians, the data bank project could be completed within a year.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin and Isaac Ukpoju

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Centre calls for passage of disability law in Abia



NNN: Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has called on Abia House of Assembly to pass into law a bill that seeks to protect the rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the state.

Executive Director, CCD, Mr David Anyaele made the call when the group visited the Assembly complex in Umuahia on Monday, to lobby for the passage of disability law.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the group was received by the Deputy Speaker, Ifeanyi Uchendu.

Anyaele said that the  passage of the disability law would checkmate discrimination and other harmful practices against disable people in the state.

He said that there were over 600,000 persons with disabilities in Abia and about 80 per cent live in the rural areas.

He said that the 5th state assembly passed the bill in 2015, but the governor did not assent to it.

”Findings from research shows that there is high level of discrimination and harmful practices against persons with disabilities.

”Also, PWDs are being denied access in democratic governance,” he said.

The executive director said that 10 states that had already passed the law are Lagos, Bauchi,  Ekiti, Ondo, Anambra, Kwara, Kano, Kogi, Jigawa and Plateau.

He called for sensitisation for state and non-state actors, civil society groups, policy makers, media and other stakeholders on the rights of PWDs’ participation in democratic governance.

”We request appointment of a special adviser to the governor on disability matters; and the establishment of disability office at the state house of assembly,” he said.

In his response, Uchendu said that the seventh assembly had no plan to discriminate against citizens with disabilities.

He gave assurance to the group that he would take appropriate measures to ensure accelerated legislative process for passage of the bill into law.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Isaac Ukpoju


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Don advocates passage of disability education bill by NASS



Prof. Florence Banku-Obi, Prof. of Special Needs Education, Faculty of Education, University of Calabar, has called on the National Assembly to pass the bill on disability education for the country.

Banku-Obi made the call in Calabar while delivering the 92nd Inaugural Lecture at the University’s International Conference Centre titled “From Exclusion to Zero Rejects: A Road Map to Inclusiveness”.

She explained that the bill would guarantee full integration and enhance the quality of inclusive education for persons with disabilities.

According to her, she undertook a study and found that many heads of schools were not ready to welcome special children except it became mandatory for them to do so.

Banku-Obi, a former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics in University of Calabar, said that some teachers do not know how to adapt instructions to suit special children especially those with sensory impairments (blind and deaf).

She urged government at all levels to make more public schools inclusive to open up more access to quality education for special children.

The Senior Lecturer said that the physical facilities in such special schools should be restructured to accommodate the people with disability.

She however, called on the Federal Ministry of Education and the Supervisory bodies to monitor the implementation of the element of special education designed by the National Educational Research and Development Council.

“The world over, children with disabilities live a life of marginalisation, labelling, discrimination, stigmatisation and exclusion. They are seen and treated as unfit and the dregs of the society.

“Excluding children with disabilities from education means that they have a near bleak future with very restrictive prospects for economic independence thereby promoting a cycle of inter-generational poverty among millions of these children.

“Inclusive education is an educational ideology where all learners with or without disabilities are welcome to general education neighbourhood schools.

“The learners in inclusive education are given the opportunity to school and learn together in general education classrooms with their peer groups or age mates,” she said.

Banku-Obi maintained that inclusive education encourages necessary institutional policies to support the disadvantaged, especially those with disabilities to ensure that the “no one is left behind” policy of vision 2030 is achieved.

She explained that Zero Reject requires that an individual with a disability so identified and recognised by law cannot be denied access to appropriate education and related necessary services to help in learning process.

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Unical, Prof. Zana Akpagu, who declared the inaugural lecture open, said the lecture would shape the thought of individuals on how they see and threat the challenged people.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the lecture attracted academics from various fields, students, captains of industries, lawmakers and religious leaders among others.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz

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Look at disability issues beyond medical, charity perspectives, Advocate urges Nigerians



Mr Lanre Olagunju, an advocate for the rights of People with Disabilities (PWDs), has called on Nigerians to look at the issues of disability beyond the medical and charity perspectives.

Olagunju told the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Lagos that the PWDs could also be productive, if equipped with the right skills.

He called on the ministries and agencies of government across the country to embark on building the capacity of PWDs.

According to him, government should also design and implement interventions toward the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their initiatives.

“Skills, such as ICT and entrepreneurship, will go a long way in enabling them to develop healthy self-esteem, and in addition, keep them aware of their rights,” he said.

Olagunju said that with skills and the right equipment in place, the people our society regarded as disabled, could contribute meaningfully to the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP).

“To adequately cater for the community, the challenge of discrimination and lack of access requires a collective effort from the government, relevant civil society organisations and more importantly, the media,’’ he said.

Olagunju said that the media must constantly engage strategies to raise awareness and change attitudes toward the physically challenged.

“Organised private sector also has an enormous task, because disability issues are essentially human rights-based and they have ripple effects on social and economic development.

“As a nation, we can combine effort toward achieving an inclusive society, same as it was done to gender discrimination, children protection and the most recent, .

“It will require that we mainstream disabilities into our policies, processes and programmes, that way, we can keep disability inclusion issues at the front burner so as to record phenomenal improvements,” he said.

Edited By: Moses Solanke/Olagoke Olatoye


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Group calls for National Disability Commission



Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) on Friday called on the Federal Government to establish the National Disability Commission (NDC) to help toward the realisation of the objectives of the National Disability Act.

It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Act on January 17, 2019 with a provision to set up NDC as a regulatory agency to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act.

Mr Gab Nnamani, the President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Enugu State, made the call at the end of a three-day capacity building workshop for PLWDs on the “Use of Freedom of Information Act and National Disability Act”.

Nnamani said that until the commission was established and empowered, the current challenges facing PLWDs would not be surmounted as envisaged by the Act.

“There is a need for a commission and agency that will take up the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of PLWDs, who are handicapped on how to fight for their rights and privileges in the first place,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Gideon Eze, a visually impaired, called on the Federal Ministry of Information to urgently commence the enlightenment of the public on the provisions of the Act.

Eze said that the ministry should let Nigerians know about the 60 months grace period for the implementation of the provisions of the Act.

He also urged all levels of government to prioritise issues and challenges facing PLWDs and ensure they were given attention.

“As enshrined in the Act, the ministry should move fast to educate Nigerians on its provisions and let them know that the days of discrimination against PLWDs were over in the country,’’ he said.

Mrs Victoria Nnedi, a former Paralympic Games World Champion, called on PLWDs to come out from their shell as the Act had provided mechanism to protect their rights and even grant them more privileges.

“As a paralympic coach, I will ensure that the information on the Act got down to athletes in the sports ministry in the state and other PLWDs around the locality where I live,’’ Nnedi said.

Earlier, Mr David Anyaele, Executive Director of Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), said that the poor, especially PLWDs, bore the greatest burden of corruption and corrupt tendencies since most times they were denied their basic socio-economic and political rights.

Anyaele said that CCD through the Up-Right for Nigeria Initiative was training PLWDs on how to demand transparency and accountability from leaders, public officials and those that carry out public works.

The CCD boss further said that the training had exposed participants on the need to follow due process of obtaining official information from any public office or public work.

“PLWDs are mostly living in the rural areas, where information and enlightenment on critical issues are denied them.

“With this training, they will be able to legally challenge people, who are heads of local authorities, so that what is due to them will definitely get to them,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the capacity building workshop, which featured over 40 participants, was organised by CCD.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Sam Oditah)

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