The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has pledge support for Local Producers of Assistive Devices for Persons with Disabilities with the aim of ensuring that millions of them enjoy the right of independent living, inclusive and participation of local production of quality and affordable assistive devices.
The Minister disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a 3-Day Capacity Building of Identified Local Producers of Assistive Technologies, held in Makurdi, Benue State.
The Minister who was represented by the Director Special Needs of the Ministry, Mrs. Onwukwe Florence Nkechi, noted the importance of Assistive Devices as it has been clearly stressed in Article 20 (a-d) of the United Nations Convention on the rights of PWDs.
She urged the State governments to support the entities that produce Mobility Aids, Devices and Assistive technologies.
Farouq disclosed that the Ministry was working in collaboration with partners to nurture and harness the potentials of PWDs as well as promoting the activities that could enhance their interaction, mainstreaming empowerment for a more sustainable economic, Social and political growth of the nation.
The Workshop was organized to enlighten and encourage local producers to develop and improve on production, enable interaction with successful and quality control of production.
She urged the participants to look inward as the cost of importing the devices were becoming so high for Federal Government, and challenged the participants to deliver and match up with foreign counterpart.
“A nationwide assessment was carried out in the 36 States and FCT to identify how and where Government can support, the report has been finalized and the finding will be incorporated into National Strategic Framework of Action” she said.
She informed the participants that Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has demonstrated strong leadership in policy making through the revised 2019 National Policy on Disability and Disability Act, notably a strategy for improving AT production, procurement and provision is being developed in collaboration with partners. Also an Agency Technology Working Group on AT Technology was constituted to give guidance to the development of comprehensive road map to aid AT implemention in Nigeria.
She urged the participants to maximize the opportunity and utilize efficiently the little support that would be provided at the end of the training adding that the Federal Government remained lcommitted to doing her best to carter for PWDs.
Earlier the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry who was represented by Magaji Garba, the Chief Community Development Officer, commended the organizers of the workshop.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the administration of President Buhari was passionate about the wellbeing of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
According to him, the assessment carried out nationwide in the 36 State and FCT between August 2019 and December, 2029 showed that the equipments and facilities of the Local Producers were outdated and dilapidated, while some had folded up due to lack of capital to strengthen producers because they could not access credit facilities from banks.
“The 3 Days capacity building training was first in series planned for implemention across the six geopolitical zones”
He urged the participants to take the training seriously so that Nigeria can become exporters rather than importers of these devices as the Federal Government is committed to be more inclusive in the production of more quality devices locally while Federal Government provide employment for self reliance.
The Representative of the Honourable Commissioner of Gender Affairs and Social Development, Benue State, Terumbur Eunice Tachia has expressed her profound gratitude for being part of the Workshop designed to nurture and harness the potentials of PWDs in the 36 States and FCT, and also to President Muhammadu Buhari for creating Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, saddled with the responsibility of caring for Persons with Special Needs in the country.
She said the Administration of the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Sam Ortom has not relented in with the responsibility of PWDs, he has established programmes on education, vocational training skills livelihood empowerment programmes which has sustained and equipped them professionally.
The wife of the Governor, Dr. Eunice Ortom has a foundation (Eunice Spring of Life) which has helped to train empower and sustain Persons with Disabilities and make them self reliance.