From Rose Ejembi Makurdi
The Federal government has stressed the need to explore greater possibilities in the quest towards addressing the issues of inclusiveness among people with disabilities (PWDs).
This, it hopes to achieve, by providing the PWDs with quality assistive devices that can help in the development of their entrepreneural competencies so that they can favourably compete in the business environment.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajis Sadiya Umar Farouq stated this at a 3-day capacity building of identified local producers of assistive technology is held in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Wednesday.
Represented by the Director of Special Needs in the Ministry, Mrs. Nkechi Onwukwe, the Minister noted that the Ministry was working in collaboration with partners to nurture and harness the potentials of PWDs as well as promoting activities that enhance their interaction, mainstreaming and empowerment for a more sustainable economic, social and political growth of the nation.
“The importance of Assistive Devices in the lives of PWDs cannot be overemphasized as clearly stressed in Article 20(a-d of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of PWDs where state parties are expected to encourage and support entities that produce mobility aida, devices and assistive technologies.”
In his remark during the opening ceremony, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Bashir Nuts Alkali recalled that the Ministry had earlier carriers out a nationwide assessment visit to local producers of assistive devices in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT between August 2019 and December 2020.
He explained that the assessment visit was to identify how and where government could encourage and support local production of assistive devices.
“The report of the visit shows that the equipment and facilities of the producers are outdated and dilapidated; while some producers have folded up because they lack the basic capital to strengthen production.
“It is with this in mind that this 3-day zonal capacity building workshop for local producers of Assistive Devices which is the first in a series of trainings planned for implementation across the six geopolitical zones is packaged and designed to address some of these challenges,” he said.
Our correspondent gathered that some of the devices produced by the participants are wheel chairs, crutches, tricycles among others.