From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has said the country does not have an official data of persons living with disability, maintaining that the 25 million number being bandied around should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated this yesterday, in Abuja at an event to mark the 2020 International Day for Persons with Disability.
“The Disability Data in the Country is not comprehensive and there is lack of generally accepted estimate for the number of Persons With Disabilities in Nigeria.
“The world report on Disability published in 2011, said about 25 Million Nigerians had at least one disability while 3.6 million of these had very significant difficulties in function.
“The 2006 Nigerian Census reported 3,253,169 Persons With Disabilities or 2.32% of the total population of 140,431,790 in that year.
“However, organizations of Persons With Disabilities disagree with the figure because they claim that it does not capture the full extent of disability in Nigeria,” she said.
Farouq said government would continue to provide basic amenities for them and would fully implement the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, which took over 18 years before be assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Nigeria has adapted Community Based inclusive Development (CBID) approach as the implementation strategy for the revised National Policy on Disability in Nigeria.
“This approach places emphasis at the community level where most of the Persons With Disabilities reside. This further guarantees the maximization of the abilities of PWDS and makes them active contributors to leadership and national developments, buttressing the saying: There is ability in disability,” she added.
Meanwhile, Chairman of MTN Foundation, Julius Adewale Adelusi, disclosed that so far, over 20, 000 persons with disability had been empowered.
Adelusi urged the public to be sensitive to plights of those who are either physically and psychologically challenged, in a bid to give them a sense of belonging.