Coalition of People With Disabilities (LPWDs) have called on governments to pay more attention to children with disabilities and their caregivers, especially in areas of mobility, care, education and feeding.
The coalition of 85 organisations, also called for an end to stigmatization, while requesting government interventions to cushion their post Covid-19 pandemic challenges.
They made the call at a media parley organised by Nigeria Network of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in partnership with the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) in Lagos.
The event was to share outcomes of Northern and Southern consultations on the global week of action concerning effects of Covid-19, increased poverty and climate action in Nigeria.
The event, with the theme: ‘Effect of COVID-19 on Increased Poverty and Climate Action in Nigeria’ was aimed at accelerating action on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Nigerians.
Leading the call, Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGOs), Oyebisi, Oluseyi, pointed out the disastrous effects of the pandemic on the economy.
He stressed that the last two years have been difficult for families and communities across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, the lockdowns and stringent control measures hit business activities hard, including very small scale businesses, most of which ended up dying off, and completely threw many families that depended on them further below the poverty line.
He said: “While it is true that the poverty level in Nigeria was relatively high even before COVID-19, it is a fundamental truth that the level of poverty in Nigeria became relatively higher with the advent of the pandemic.
According to the World Bank (2021), before COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, approximately four in 10 Nigerians were living below the national poverty line, and millions more were living above the poverty line making them vulnerable to falling back into poverty when shock occurs.
This situation has most certainly worsened due to the impact of the pandemic.” Listing their demands, the organisations, who participated in the virtual regional consultation, asked governments at all levels to make visible efforts to bring down structural barriers that affect access to health and socio-economic opportunities of the marginalised and vulnerable populations, which will help mitigate the burden of epidemics and enhance the wellbeing of the workforce of the nation.
They also called on the Nigerian government to make an inclusive budget, create and ensure a strong social protection system for all, which ensures a more rights based community-centered approach focusing on financial inclusion of marginalised groups to ensure equity in governance and processes.
Also, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were encouraged to mobilise resources locally by engaging private stakeholders to contribute at least one per cent of their annual profits to combat poverty and challenges posed by the pandemic.
The coalition emphasised the need for regulatory standards, policies to encourage people to study and pursue technical or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) related careers and pointed out the need for policy making to involve grassroots.