By Egena Sunday Ode
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja charged the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities to play its roles adequately in the realisation of the government objective of lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty.
Speaking when he received members of the newly established body at the State House, President Buhari said,” I am enjoining you as a team of the commission, to realize that your work forms a critical aspect in achieving the objective of our Administration to removing 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. I am therefore looking forward to commissioning projects and programmes of high impact to the disabled community in line with this vision.
“Your appointments were no mistake as you were all selected after careful evaluation and assessment of your good conduct and contribution to the society and the disabled community in Nigeria.
“The task before you is enormous. You must work diligently towards ensuring that Government is able to touch the lives of our fellow citizens with special needs despite our limited resources.”
Buhari assured that his administration will continue to give effect to treaties that give inclusivity to persons with disabilities:
“Nigeria is a signatory and a state party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which seeks to promote the inclusion of persons with special needs in all development efforts globally. Under my leadership, Government shall continue to give effect to all global, regional and sub-regional treaties that seek to improve the lives of our disadvantaged citizens.”
The President expressed joy that the Commission was finally in place having been an issue during his campaigns:
”In December 2014, during my campaign for the President of this country under our great party, I met with the Community of Persons with Special Needs who showed unalloyed loyalty and support for our party and my candidature in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital. I recall that the most pressing and priority request from the Community was the passage of the Disability Bill and the subsequent presidential assent which I promised them I shall do. I am happy to have fulfilled that promise.”
He commended some governors who had enacted laws on disability and enjoined others who had not to do the needful.
“I thank the Governors of Plateau, Lagos and Nasarawa States for enacting disability laws and establishing Disability Rights Commissions in their states, I am calling on Governors of Yobe, Kano and Kogi States, to implement their laws while those states that are yet to do so should take necessary action to enable Federal Government efforts have the desired impact at the subnational levels,” said President Buhari
In her remarks, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, who led the team, said she has continued to receive words from persons with disabilities, local and non-governmental organisations, and the international community commending the President for the establishment of the Commission.
She requested the President to direct that public buildings like airports , motor parks and schools be made accessible to persons with disabilities in Nigeria although it has been captured in the Act.
She also requested for technologies to aid the persons with disabilities in their educational pursuits.
The Minister added that her Ministry had ensured that persons with disabilities had access to palliatives from her Ministry and are also included in its social investment programmes.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after the meeting with Buhari, the Minister revealed that no fewer than two million Nigerians have been displaced as a result of insurgency, armed banditry, communal clashes amongst others.