The Board of Trustees of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has urged the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to adopt strategies that will ensure no strata of the society is left behind in the current interventions to cushion the effects of the pandemic.

The Board, in a statement signed by it’s Chairman, Prince Paul Adelabu said the agitation of the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the ongoing interventions have become more intense.

He said, “JONAPWD was worried about the invisibility and exclusion of persons within all COVID-19 interventions, noting that the disability community was most affected with impact of COVID-19 both economically and health-wise.

While acknowledging efforts of disabled individuals and organizations of persons with disabilities pushing for their inclusion in the various levels of intervention, Adelabu expressed dismay at the disability gaps in the distribution of relief material through palliative measures by both government and private sector.

“JONAPWD as the umbrella body of all disability organizations in Nigeria therefore calls on the Presidential Task Force-PTF on COVID 19, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the private sector and NGOs to comply to the mandates set by the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities, articles 43 and 11, and the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, by adopting a more coordinated approach to reaching out to the disability community in Nigeria through JONAPWD Board of Trustees,” he said.

He noted that JONAPWD has a well-defined structure of engagement; with six zonal coordinators, state chairpersons in all the 36 states and FCT, including local government councils in Nigeria.

He said JONAPWD has over the years, through her active engagement with critical stakeholders became an institutional hub on disability and development in Nigeria, adding that dealing directly with the body will go a long way to prevent measures that will be counter-productive.

According to him, “In such interventions, it is more ideal for all persons with disabilities to come under one united voice for the common good of all.”

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