by Oliver Nweke Francis,
The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Beta Edu, has assured Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria of full inclusion in all government policies and programs.
That at least 10% safety net is reserved for PWDs in all programs and intervention by the ministry.The Honourable Minister stated this in Abuja during the launching of PWDs empowerment program organized by the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
The Project launched for PWDs include; over 150 POS machines with a take-off sum of one hundred thousand naira each as operating capital for the beneficiaries, one hundred and thirty thousand naira scholarship to various beneficiaries in tertiary institutions, twenty million annual grants to associations of PWDs in Nigeria, and training and business name registration for PWDs to enable easy access to loans for business and trading.
“Dr. Edu said “Today, I have joy in my heart. I have hope that as we launch the empowerment program. Our target is to get 50 million Nigerians within 42 months out of poverty. For us to achieve this, we must empower the general community, but with special focus on the disabilities community, as well as the senior citizens community.
“We recognize that success of this nation and the success of our people is a collective one. So no one should be left behind.
Together we can build a nation where everyone can thrive, where disability is not a burden but a blessing to our nation.
“In the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, we have giving a deliberate policy beyond what is in the constitution to say that for every program or intervention, weather in the humanitarian or poverty alleviation areas, we must expand our social saftynet to include 10% of PWDs for all our programs.
“This empowerment of PWDs is a great occasion and it marks a significant step towards building a Nigeria where every citizen regardless of their ability can thrive and reach their full potentials. There should be no bottleneck, no hindrance and nothing stopping anyone from reaching their potentials.
“The fact is that PWDs have been marginalized and excluded from the society for much too long. They have faced discrimination in education, employment, access to public spaces.
Their voices have been silenced at different levels, their dreams dismissed, and their talents have been overlooked or looked down at. We are determined to change that narrative.
“That is why this government have decided, we must take bold steps to ensure PWDs rights are respected and restored accordingly. Also, ensure that their rights are protected at every level.
Recently, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed the Instrument of Ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa.
This instrument protects PWDs and assured them of their rights. This shows the president commitment to the disability community.
“We recognise that disability does not define a person, its only part of a unique journey. The empowerment program today is a beacon of hope, illuminating the part to a more inclusive and equitable society for all.
“This program is not merely providing assistance; we are not here to give out handouts. We want to impact skills and fully empower individual beneficiaries. To enable individuals to take charge of their lives, pursue your dreams and contribute meaningfully to national progress and development.
“In our vision of leaving no-one-behind and through this program, we will be providing comprehensive support to encompass skill training, financial upliftment, access to education, and employment.
“I am confident that with this intervention, especially, considering the economic realities that we face, we will make a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals and transforming their dreams into realities. We will witness the brilliance f PWDs shine through with their various talents and contributions.