By Frank Ikpefan, Abuja

Africa Polling Institute (API), an Abuja-based research institute has advocated accurate data of people living with disabilities (PWDs) in the country, in order to improve their conditions.

The organisation admonished states that are yet to domesticate the disability Act, to do so and ensure its speedy implementation.

Executive Director (API) Prof. Bell Ihua, said this at a one-day multi-stakeholder workshop on the Nigeria Disability Research Project, yesterday in Abuja.

According to him, the project, which is borne out of the need to have a Nigerian-owned data on people with disabilities is supported by the Ford Foundation.

Ihua noted that the project is aimed at gathering evidence-based disaggregated data on Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the country that would create useful data that would be quoted for many years.

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“Data are life and one of the challenges that have been found so far that has not allowed the inclusion of people with disabilities is the fact that there have been little data from the country on people living with disabilities.

“So, with the support of the Ford Foundation, the Africa Polling Institute was asked to midwife the process of generating national data on persons with disabilities in the country.

“A lot of organisations within the community want to advocate but they lack the research skill to advocate, so this project is going to help them gain the necessary research skill to be able to do the necessary advocacy,” he said.

National President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), Ekaete Umoh said the outcome of the research would help the PWDs have constructive engagements with the government.

“Data is everything, data is for planning and if we do not have accurate data about the situation of persons with disabilities, it is going to be extremely difficult to even implement the disability Act,” she added.

Chief Executive Officer, The Albino Foundation, Jake Epelle, added that the outcome of the project would be excellent and beneficial to the community of PWDs.

“We will lend our support to ensure that once the exercise is complete, we will push it through the various systems that we work with both national and international, so that it can be captured at the national level.

“I hope that the National Bureau of Statistics will team up with this process and ensure that this outcome would be used in every national discourse,” he said.

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