By Chukwunyere Nwosu, INN reporter
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) on Wednesday June 22, announced a partnership with the World Bank and other relevant agencies to provide technical support and financial assistance to the various Disability Groups to enable them meet the needs of the estimated 15% of Nigerian population with disabilities.
James David Lalu disclosed this while addressing newsmen at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
His words; “the commission, in collaboration with the World Bank, has engaged services of technical experts to support the development of strategic and operational frameworks and the establishment of the Nigerian Disability Partners Group (NDPG) which will help deliver the commission’s mandate and pledge to take on all kinds of discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, in harmony with existing federal government policies”.
According to Mr. Lalu, inaugurating the NDPG is a key milestone towards promoting Disability inclusive development with the coming together of the World Bank (WB), the British High Commission Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Sightsavers.
“As outlined in our five-year Strategic Development Plan, the partners are ready and willing to provide all the technical and financial support necessary to help the Commission achieve its long, short and medium-term goals.”
Lalu stated that the partners have already demonstrated commitment and it is a welcome development. It is therefore important for NCPWD, as an institution, to set the pace – which is why we are setting up the secretariat”.
“A key function of the Secretariat is to ensure implementation of the five-year Strategic Development Plan that seeks to bring everyone’s commitment at local and international levels to working together on disability in Nigeria”.
The Executive Secretary further remarked that the secretariat will undertake activities to provide data on what is happening in the disability community, including impact, beneficiaries, and a host of others.
Additionally, a ten percent slot in the National Social Investment Program has been allocated to the disability community, and the commission is working to fill it.
The Technical Assistant to the Group from the World Bank, Dr Adebukola Adebayo, said disability is a multi-sectoral issue which cuts across all aspects and sectors of life.
“There are quite a number of international development partners, civil society organizations, organized private sector in education, health, transportation, agricultural, etc – all working together to achieve the vision.”
To harmonize all these efforts, Adebayo said the Executive Secretary has proposed setting up the Secretariat with the support of the World Bank, FCDO in the British High Commission, and Sightsavers.
The primary goal is to provide technical and financial support to the Commission, to meet its mandate across all these sectors.
“So in the long run, the whole idea is to ensure that whatever is done to support PWDs are documented and harmonized to avoid duplication, waste of resources and unnecessary competition.
“It is also to ensure consolidation and complementarity of efforts across the sectors. That is the major goal the NDPG is set up to achieve.
“The secretariat of the NDPG is domiciled at the Commission and run by its staff, however the technical aspect and other supports come from development partners,” he said.
Among the Secretariat members are Mr. Abba Isawa, Coordinator; Adewale Olasoji Ebenezer, Director PRS, NCPWD; Mrs. Olanike Akinbola, Head, Women and Gender Unit; Barrister Ikem Uchegbulam, Director of Compliance; Mariam Saleh Hassan, Director of Human Resource; Haruna Mohammed, Technical Advisor; Maria Kamba and Fatima Doki Abubakar.