The Kaduna State Chapter of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has expressed disappointment over the non inclusion of person with disabilities in the State Government’s planned distribution of palliatives towards cushioning the effect of the lockdown as a measure to curb the spread of coronavirus.

About N500million had been earmarked by the State Government to procure and distribute relief materials in it’s efforts towards alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable groups affected by the lockdown in the state.

In a statement signed by the Chairman of JONAPWD, Kaduna Chapter, Suleiman Abdulazeez, the Association observed that the Committee on relief material set up by the State Government was not inclusive of Persons with Disabilities led by the JONAPWD from State to local government level.

“We noticed that the cluster committees that was set up to provide assistance to the most vulnerable in the society in some of the local governments (Wards) did not have a criteria for selecting vulnerable groups, thereby leading to the discrimination and neglect of persons with disabilities. However, we want to commend some of the coordinators for ensuring that prioritized PWDs,” he said.

The chapter noted that as much as coronavirus is a threat to disabled persons, hunger poses a more potent danger.

“It is also very disheartening to note that no special consideration (percentage reserved) was given to the less privilege PWDs in distribution of relief materials to cushion the hardship our members are facing. The Covid-19 pandemic is a national calamity that has no respect for anyone, able or disable, rich or poor. The lockdown curfew enforced by the Kaduna State Government has not exempted persons with disabilities.”

The Association, therefore called for a review of the committee to include people with disability and a percentage for them should be clearly stated in the criteria for selection; as this will give them a sense of belonging and inclusiveness.

“The chapter has decided to publicly amplify their concerns, not to criticize the process of selection and distribution but show the world how insensitive the team have been to the plight of persons with disabilities. They also use the opportunity to appeal to the government to reconsider the present approach. As they can boldly say that the committee cannot ascertain the number of PWDs that have benefitted so far.

“The chairman on behalf of all the persons with disability in Kaduna State wish His Excellence the Executive Governor Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai quick recovery and pray that to Allah to bring Corona Virus in Nigeria to an end in Nigeria,” the association said.

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