Persons with disabilities in Abia have appealed to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu to intervene in ensuring the easy passage of the state disability bill intended to protect them from discrimination and other harmful practices.
The appeal was contained in a communique issued at the end of a one-day stakeholders’ forum on “state of persons with disabilities in Abia”, held on Tuesday in Umuahia and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday.
The forum, which was organised by the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities in Abia, expressed disappointment that the sixth state Assembly could not pass the bill before the end of its tenure.
It also expressed concern “over discrimination and exclusion of Senior Special Assistants (SSAs) and Special Advisers (SAs) to the Governor on Disability Matters during state government functions with little or no access for persons with disabilities at such events.”
The communique, which was jointly signed by the Executive Director of the centre, Mr David Anyaele, and Chairman of the Joint National Associations, Mr Stanley Onyeebuchi, also appealed to the government to see persons with disabilities as equal stakeholders in society.
It requested the government to mainstream them in every sphere of the political and socio-economic life of the state.
It further urged the Abia government “not to see issues concerning persons with disabilities from charity perspective.”
It therefore urged Ikpeazu to ensure that all appointments and employment opportunities in the state complied with the provision of Section 29 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018.
It noted that the Act provides for the reservation of at least 10 per cent of such opportunities for persons with disabilities.
The forum expressed disappointment that persons with disabilities, who were governor’s aides, had no “reasonable accommodation to aid their job.”
It lauded the governor for appointing eight persons with disabilities as SSAs but also called for an increase in the number of such appointments.
The communique also demanded for more opportunities, including appointments as commissioners, permanent secretaries, advisers, chief executives and board members of parastatals, among others.
It called for public understanding of the peculiarities faced by persons with disabilities and the additional economic burden imposed on them by their conditions.
It therefore appealed to the governor to approve the restoration of Disability Allowance for those in the state Public Service and payment of allowance to all Abia indigenes living with disabilities.
The forum called on all political appointees from the disability community to collaborate toward improving the lot of persons with disabilities, rather than working at cross purpose with one another.
The forum commended the governor for initiating different empowerment programmes in favour of persons with disabilities in all the 17 local government areas of the state.
It also hailed the state government for engaging persons with disabilities in para-sports, describing sports as an important tool for integration and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
The centre stated that the forum was organised “as part of the efforts to demand accountability from political appointees that served the governor on disability matters.”
(Edited by Sam Oditah)
Buhari warns cabinet members against unnecessary altercation
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja, cautioned new cabinet Ministers against unnecessary altercation while discharging their responsibilities.
Buhari, who gave the warning at the inauguration of ministers at the Presidential Villa, stated that they must work in harmony with their fellow ministers.
He also charged the ministers not to allow political or ethnic differences to affect their performance.
“We can only make meaningful progress in our restoration efforts if we all commit ourselves to addressing the challenges confronting our nation in the best interest of our people and posterity.
“We must not allow issues such as political affiliation, sectional interest, and primordial loyalties to blind us against our patriotic obligation to drive our nation’s growth, development, and prosperity in an atmosphere of enduring peace, security and stability,” he said.
The president explained that the ministers, as heads of their respective ministries, and for effective implementation of their mandates, are required to work closely with the Permanent Secretaries and heads of Agencies under their purview.
He said this had become necessary considering the fact that, the task of moving the country to the Next Level required dedicated, focused, and collective efforts.
“I must emphasise the importance of communication and harmony within our government.
“You must work in harmony with your fellow Ministers. Communication, vertical and horizontal, can only be ignored at a price,’’ he said.
According to the president, his administration’s primary business in the next four years is to work towards delivering dividends of democracy to all citizens irrespective of their socio-political affiliations.
He said the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government was determined to record more successes that would meet the expectations of citizens.
He said: “Our primary business over the next four years is to work together towards delivering the results that the people of Nigeria expect from us.
“We have a great opportunity as an administration to build on the progress already made, in order to build and fundamentally shift Nigeria’s trajectory to the path of steady growth and development.
“Our economic policy, which is the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, is still robust and on course with the necessary policies and initiatives to sustain the country’s exit from recession, engender growth and promote the value chain of infrastructure development.
“We believe that we can sustain our legacies and developmental strides if they are based on sustainable policies and good governance.’’
The President informed the Ministers that their performance and that of their various ministries would be tracked, to guarantee efficiency.
“As you are aware, the Federal Executive Council meeting is held on a weekly basis.
“As part of efforts towards ensuring effective delivery on our priorities, I have directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to track progress against what we have committed to do to achieve these objectives.
“He is therefore expected to report the process of implementation and outcome to the Federal Executive Council,” he added.
In short remarks at the event, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, who was the first to take his oath of office, urged the ministers to familiarise themselves with their respective permanent secretaries.
Mustapha said this had become imperative in view of the fact that the executive arm had pledged to submit 2020 appropriation bill to the National Assembly by September.
“You are expected to familiarise yourselves with the permanent secretaries of various ministries and within this period, set out to work particularly on the budget.
“And taking cognisance of the fact that we have assured the National Assembly that we are sending the budget immediately they return from recess,’’ he said.
Buhari had earlier on Wednesday, sworn in 43 ministers, in nine batches of five each.
Foundation gives 33 students scholarship, 15 women get grants
The Lateefah Moyosore Durosinmi Foundation (LMDF) on Wednesday gave scholarship to 33 students and grants to 15 women engaged in small scale businesses in the six states of the South West Zone.
The founder of LMDF, Dr Lateefah Durosinmi, made the award of scholarship and grants public at the annual scholarship awards and grants ceremony of the foundation in Ibadan.
Durosinmi said she was passionate about children’s education and empowerment of women in the society.
She said that the award of scholarship to pupils and students in public schools as well as grants to women began in 2013.
According to her, most women are always struggling in the society because they are not economically empowered.
” We must assist women to develop the society and as well as the youths to develop their talent
“Some of the students have been running away from school because their parents don’t have money to sponsor them.
“I’m happy now because most of them are now back in school because of this scholarship,” Durosinmi said.
While delivering her lecture entitled, “Women Empowerment-A Panacea To Poverty,” Dr Habeebah Oladosu, said assisting the less privileged remained the only solution to eradicating poverty in Nigeria.
Oladosu, a lecturer in the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan, said women would be able to give the right education to their children if they were empowered.
The don said that there would never be development in a society where women are neglected.
Dr Amdalat Olaniyan, the wife of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, commended the foundation for its initiatives and urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the money.
Two of the beneficiaries, Mrs Sidikat Ajibuwa and Aderemi Abdulsalam, commended the foundation and prayed for its progress.
Secondus chides APC over “unfulfiled promises”
The PDP Chairman alleged that the APC government at the centre “had no economic blueprint to revive the nation’s economy as earlier promised.
He therefore called for a rebuilding process of the PDP to enable the party reclaim the government at the centre.
“There is the need for our party members to come together and be united and start the process of rebuilding the party from the grassroots and communities.
“We must take responsibilities as party men and party women. It is with this that we will begin to reclaim the government,” he said.
The PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, who addressed the gathering through a recorded video message, expressed hope of reclaiming “his mandate” at the tribunal.
Atiku, who commended the reconciliation process organised by Adebutu, urged Ogun PDP members to be steadfast and focused towards winning the 2023 polls.
In his remarks, Adebutu explained that the reconciliation meeting was meant to heal the wounds inflicted by the internal crisis that rocked the party in Ogun shortly before the 2019 governorship polls in the state.
Adebutu, who expressed his ambition to run for the 2023 governorship election in Ogun, called on other members with similar ambition to vie with him “in a manner that will lubricate internal democracy within the party”.
Edited by Wale Ojetimi
Shun drug abuse, other vices, Gov. AbdulRazaq urges youths
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has called on Nigerian youths to shun drug abuse and other vices that could hinder them from realising their lifetime ambitions.
AbdulRazaq made the call on Wednesday when he received members of the state chapter of Scouts’ Association of Nigeria (SAN), led by its Commissioner, Deacon Olabisi Afolayinka, at the Government House, Ilorin.
The governor, who recalled, with nostalgia, his days as a scout boy in Capital School, Kaduna, said that the organisation had contributed immensely to nurturing youths to become good citizens and contribute to the development of the country.
“This is an association that prepares youths on how to be good citizens and how to relate with their fellow countrymen.
“These are virtues that the youth of today should maintain. In our own days as youths, there were no rampant cases of drug abuse,” he said.
The governor urged the youth to use their energy for productive ventures and join the organisation to make positive contributions to the society.
AbdulRazaq, who was made the organisation’s Ambassador of Peace, promised to live up to expectations by giving necessary support to the body through relevant government agencies.
Earlier in his remarks, Afolayanka said that the constitution of the body automatically made the governor of any state its patron and the president grand patron.
He commended AbdulRazaq for the audience granted the association, saying that this was the first time any governor would be hosting them in the state in the last 21 years.
Afolayanka said that the association was founded to build young boys and girls to make useful contributions to the country.
The SAN commissioner noted that cultism and other vices were not rampant in schools in the past when the scouts held sway.
He urged the governor to continue to support the association for effective discharge of its responsibilities in the state.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
NLC calls for suspension of action on Health Insurance bill in Jigawa
The Nigeria labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Jigawa State House of Assembly to stop the process of passing the bill on Jigawa State Health Insurance Scheme into law.
The Chairman of Jigawa chapter of NLC, Malam Sanusi Alhassan, made the call in a statement issued in Dutse, on Wednesday.
Sanusi said that the organised labour was calling for the suspension of further action on the bill, following observation that that the original copy sent to the house had been tampered with.
“Regarding the proposed Jigawa Health Insurance Bill which has passed second reading in the state’s House of Assembly, and in which agreements were reached, the NLC observes that the original bill has been tempered with.
“This is contrary to the principles of mutual agreement.
“Labour therefore calls on Jigawa Government and the House of Assembly to suspend the process of passing the bill on the proposed Jigawa State Health Insurance Scheme into in law, until agreement is reached with NLC on all provisions of the bill,” the NLC said in the statement.
Labour, however, commended the state government for sustaining the free maternal and child healthcare programme for pregnant women and children under the age of five.
It also thanked the state government for initiating the construction of 50 housing units in each of the 27 local government areas of the state.
The state government was similarly commended for paying the 2019 Leave allowances of workers at state and local government levels.
The Jigawa NLC called on civil servants to continue to put in their best in the discharge of their responsibilities in order to move the state forward.