The National Association of Persons with Physical Disabilities (NAPWPD) has demanded a five per cent share of the N5 billion palliative approved by the Federal Government for states and local government councils.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government has approved the disbursement of N5 billion to states, local government councils and the Federal Capital Territory as palliative.
In a reaction, the National President of NAPWPD, Mr Rilwan Mohammed, in a statement in Kaduna on Saturday, appealed that five per cent of the fund should be allocated to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) across the states.
Mohammed explained that the demand was in tandem with the provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Prohibition Act.
He added that Section 25 of the Disability Law also provided that in situations of risk or humanitarian emergencies, PWDs should be accorded preference and protection.
He also expressed displeasure that the PWDs were not carried along in the decision to support the states and the local government councils with the funds.
“The disability law provides for a sharing formula to accommodate PWDs, who are usually excluded when they are lumped with other people during allocation of relief support.
“It is to address this problem that we are asking for five per cent to be allocated to PWDs in line with the provision of the law,” he said.
The president stressed the need for a clear template or clarity on how marginalised groups like the PWDs would be accommodated in the utilization of the N5 billion palliative.
He noted that the association has been extremely disturbed and sorely worried over the suffering of its members due to the fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu-led administration.
“The impact of the removal has continued to have a debilitating impact on PWDs who are largely poor and vulnerable.
“The inability of PWDs to afford decent food, healthcare and necessities of life have been compounded and made worse with the recent situation in the country.
“Our members now find it difficult to access public transport as the transport system is largely inaccessible and unaffordable to members of the disability community,” he said.
He lamented the rapid multiplier effect of the subsidy removal on the price of goods and services, adding that the development was making life unbearable for the poor, particularly PWDs.
Mohammed implored the federal, state, and local governments to tackle the challenges of public transportation and consider the peculiarities of PWDs.
He said that for the public transport system to be accessible to PWDs, buses and other means of transportation should be fitted with adjustable ramps and handrails for wheelchair users.
“The vehicles should also be fitted with signage and electronic display for directions with audio announcements for the benefit of the deaf and the blind.
“All these are provided for in the disability law.
“Our demands, therefore, are not based on charity requests but consistent with legal provisions,” he said.
NAN recalls that Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno announced the approval of the funds at the end of the National Economic Council meeting on Aug. 17 in Abuja.
Zulum had explained that the measure was to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal on petrol.
He, however, explained that the fund was on the basis of 52 per cent grants and 48 per cent as loans to be repaid to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) within 20 months by the states and local councils.