The Federal Government has approved a ten per cent inclusion for Persons With Disabilities, PWDs in all Federal Government interventions and schemes of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
Dr Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, made this known during the launch of the empowerment programme for Persons with Disabilities at the Art and Culture Conference Hall, Abuja.
According to Dr. Edu, PWDs will also benefit from all the programmes under the Ministry, including the End Hunger programme, Conditional Cash Transfer, N-power, Renewed Hope Shelters Program, Geep Programmes as well as the CODE NIGERIA program among others. The inclusion will be selected and implemented through the National Commission for Persons With Disabilities.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Minister said, “does not see them as Persons With Disabilities’ but sees them as Persons with Special Abilities” She commended the President for signing the African Chater on the Protection of the rights of persons with Disabilities and subsequent appointments of Persons with Disabilities into key positions in Government. She commended the National Assembly for ensuring that PWDs have a say in the affairs of the country through their legislations.
“Over the years, the voice of Persons With Disabilities could not be heard, they were silenced in all sectors, their brand was neglected, but the government of President Tinubu has brought hope alive to them. “The Renewed Hope Agenda is aimed at pulling 50 million Nigerians, including PWDs, out of poverty within 42 months,” she said
On the occasion, the Minister symbolically presented Point of Sales (POS) machines and N100,000 operational capital to PWDs.
She announced the sum of N130,000 as scholarship support to PWDs in tertiary institutions across Nigeria and made a presentation of N20 million annual grant to the Associations of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.
Dr. Edu equally flagged off the federal government’s training of PWDs on business development, and business registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission while creating a link with Bank Of Industry which will enable them access up to 1 billion Naira low-interest loans from the Bank of Industry to enhance their businesses and equally contribute to job creation wherever they reside in the country.
The Minister, however, warned against the misuse of the opportunities, saying the government will be strict in monitoring and evaluating all the empowerment, admonishing the beneficiaries to make good use of the Federal government empowerment to support their families and communities.
She described the empowerment program as a beacon of hope that would illuminate the path toward an inclusive and equitable society.
“This program is not merely about assisting in empowering individuals to take charge of their lives, pursue their dreams, and meaningfully contribute to our nation’s progress, but it is in line with Mr. President’s vision of leaving no one behind in this great work of development. ”
“Make good use of this gesture of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, embrace it and be determined to make a difference in the society,” “We want to teach you how to fish, we are no more giving fish, we want to empower you to be useful to yourselves, the society and remain good ambassadors of this nation” She added.
Speaking earlier the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons With Disabilities, Mr James Lalu, commended President Tinubu for the appointment of Dr Edu, which he described as “the most impactful thing that has happened to disabilities community in Nigeria”. He expressed delight that with Dr Edu as Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, the hope of PWDs will be renewed due to her passion and empathy for them.
Mr. Lalu said the empowerment programme was part of the marching order given by the Minister to the Disability Commission to change the narratives, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu
“All what you are seeing today was made possible because we have a Minister who is pushful and is on the Commission’s neck to do things differently and better, Thank you, my Honourable Minister, we are beginning to see the result of your push” The ES of the Commission promised full implementation of the Disability Act while working assiduously to protect and support PWDs in the country.
On his part, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disabilities, Abba Isa, stressed that the Renewed Hope For the Persons with Disabilities was guaranteed with Dr Betta as Minister given her zeal and dexterity to implement President Tinubu’s Agenda. He assured the PWD community that the beginning is bright and the future is assured for all irrespective of their conditions. He advises the banks and all other organisations to remove any bottle neck that will exclude people with Disability from accessing support and empowerment.
Speaking on behalf of the National Assembly, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Persons With Disabilities, Hon Bashiru Dauda said inclusion and protection of the rights of those with disabilities is guaranteed under the leadership of the 10th National Assembly with its legislations and the inclusion of sign language in its proceedings.
Dauda emphasised that discrimination against Persons with disabilities is highly prohibited in Nigeria and called on citizens to see them as part of society. He assured PWDs that the National Assembly would protect them under the established law in Nigeria.
The Representatives of Bank of Industry and Corporate Affairs Commission were on hand to register and open new businesses for PWDs while admonishing the beneficiaries on how to improve on their businesses.