The Board of Trustees of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has urged the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to adopt strategies that will ensure no strata of the society is left behind in the current interventions to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
In a open letter signed by The Chairman, BOT, Prince Paul Adelabu, the agitation is all about the inclusion of persons with disabilities in all the government interventions about COVID-19.
He expressed dismay ovet the exclusion of persons within all COVID-19 interventions, noting that the disability community was most affected with impact of COVID-19 both economically and health-wise.
While acknowledging efforts of different individuals with disabilities and organizations of persons with disabilities pushing for the inclusion of PWDs in the various levels of intervention, Adelabu expressed worry on the level of gaps and abysmal neglect of PWDs in the distribution of relief materials as palliative measures by both government and private sector.
JONAPWD as the umbrella body of all disability organizations in Nigeria therefore calls on the Presidential Task Force-PTF on COVID 19, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the private sector and NGOs to comply to the mandates set by the UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities, articles 43 and 11, and the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, by adopting a more coordinated approach to reaching out to the disability community in Nigeria through JONAPWD Board of Trustees.
He informed that JONAPWD has a well-defined structure of engagement; with six zonal coordinators, state chairpersons in all the 36 states and FCT, including local government councils in Nigeria.
He said JONAPWD has over the years, through her active engagement with critical stakeholders became an institutional hub on disability and development in Nigeria, adding that dealing directly with the body will go a long way to prevent measures that will be counter-productive.
He concluded by saying that it is more ideal for all persons with disabilities to come under one united voice for the common good of all especially in intervention like this.