Okwe Obi, Abuja
In commemoration of the 2019 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq, have advocated for the full inclusion of disabled Nigerians into the country’s political process.
The call comes as the Federal Government constitutes a peoples’ parliament for persons with disabilities, with the inauguration and first sitting of the special body’s elected executives.
Speaking in Abuja on Tuesday at the event titled ‘Promoting the Participation of Persons With Disabilities and their Leadership: Taking Action on the 2030 Development Agenda’, Lawan said People With Disabilities should be accorded the pride of place in society, and maintained that most of them possess tremendous skill and potential which the country is currently is need of.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Betty Apiafi, representing Lawan at the occasion, said that “the disabled people in Nigeria are indeed very capable with tremendous abilities and should not be overlooked.
“Disabled people have sound minds and abilities and therefore must be given all the support they deserve. We are happy that the Disability Bill has been signed into law. We believe that with new technology we will surely make it easier for people with disabilities to be propelled into participating in leadership and be more involved in all strata of our economy.”
On his part, Mustapha lamented that the mortality rate among PWDs was becoming unbearable, reminding listeners that they are saddled with many challenges.
Delivering Mustapha’s message, the Permanent Secretary, SGF, Amina Shamakin, said: “PWDs always face physical, social and economic barriers that exclude them from participating fully as equal members of society. The rate of mortality among them is also considered to be quite high.”
On the establishment of the PWD parliament, Humanitarian Minister Farouq said the body would create a sense of belonging for disabled Nigerians as they contribute to the country’s political and socioeconomic decision making process.
“My ministry will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders and partners to implement all stipulations of this act on the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition). We will be disability sensitive in supporting and guaranteeing a conducive environment towards promoting their participation in all political activities.”