By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Social Development Secretariat (SDS), of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has feted some physically challenged persons in Abuja, as a show of love and affection towards them, just as the world marked the 2014 Day of the Physically Challenged Persons.
PeoplesDaily reports that the Secretariat provided them with food items, and clothing materials to among other things, help themjoin others in marking this year’s Christmas.
Items distributed to the persons included bags of rice, beans, salt, corn, millet, red and groundnut oil, as well as assorted clothing materials.
In her welcome address during the distribution of the items, the Executive Secretary of SDS, Mrs. Blessing Onuh, explained that the secretariat embarked on the gesture to discourage the physically challenged from engaging on street begging, which has hazardous effect on their lives.
Stressing that it’s the obligation of the Secretariat to carter for the people with disabilities, Onuh told them that, even if they engage in begging for a whole year, the proceeds from such business, can neither buy them a bag of rice nor a good clothing material.
“You can attest to the fact that some of your friends have lost their lives as a result of carelessness of drivers who are ran-over by such drivers.
“So I encourage you not to engage in street begging because it is not good for you and the FCT Administration is totally against it,” she advised.
On the need to equip them with skills, the Secretary encouraged them to always make good use of the opportunities provided by the Social Development Secretariat to acquire necessary skills and knowledge that will make their lives meaningful.
“The form to enroll in the skill acquisition center is free of charge. Just few months ago, some people were graduated from one of our skill acquisition center located in Bwari area council, and each of them was given N100 to start life,” she disclosed.
She however solicited the contribution and support of well-meaningcitizens, both government and private, who have the resources to join hands in a philanthropic reach out to the needy with food items, clothing and other cash donations to help their lives.
On her part,the Coordinator, Society Against Prostitution and Child Labour in Nigeria (SAPLN), a non- governmental organisation, Grace Adogo, warned them to desist from street begging, as the social development secretariat will not hesitate to arrest anyone found on the street begging.
“Remain in your various homes and camps, and I promise you that we will be visiting you periodically with all that you need to make life better for you,” Adogo said.
Responding, one of the leaders of the association of the physically challenged in Abuja, Suleiman Ahmed, expressed his gratitude to the secretariat for remembering them with food and clothing materials, in the wake of the fast approaching Christmas celebration.
While assuring the cooperation of the physically challenged persons to leave the street, Ahmed stressed the need for the resuscitation of the facilities used by the blind.