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COVID-19: PWDs in Kaduna cry out for inclusion in the state relief materials distribution

By Chris Agbo

Abdullaziz Suleiman, Chairman, JONAPWD Kaduna Chapter

The leadership of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWDs) Kaduna State chapter has appealed to the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, for adequate inclusion of persons with disabilities in the ongoing distribution of relief materials to vulnerable. This is to ensure that more of their members benefit from the laudable initiative of the government.

According to the State Chairman, Abdullaziz Suleiman, “since the distribution commenced in the eight pilot local government areas, we have not been contacted or invited to be part of any committee that will ensure that our members adequately benefit”. He further stated that when they heard of the plan by the State government to distribute relief materials to vulnerable groups; their expectations were high because the State is in the process of establishment of Social Protection system which promises to leave no one behind.

However, they became worried when the process commenced and they were not involved with only a negligable number of their members benefitting. They directed their local government Chairmen to track the process and the feedback so far has not been encouraging to say the least, he stated. He concluded by saying that if Covid-19 pandemic does not kill them hunger will.

Also adding his voice, the State secretary of the association, Garba Abdullahi, recalled that during the Social Protection Policy town-hall meeting held at the State House, Kawo. Governor El-rufai mentioned that the Persons with Disabilities are going to be among the beneficiaries of the policy, but unfortunately they have not been included in any committee in charge of the distribution and just a few of their members benefitted only after they protested in some local governments.

According to him, “his Excellency should review the committees to include Persons with Disabilities which will give us a sense of belonging and ensure that more of our members benefit”.

On his part, the Head – Social Inclusion and Gender Equity of the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED), Smith Waya, stated that “this is worrisome because if you are talking about vulnerable groups the first group that comes to mind are the PWDs”. He also highlighted that, “the Persons with Disabilities are the most coordinated and organized vulnerable group in the State, with structures in all the local governments”. He concluded by advising the State government to carry persons with disabilities along because they are organized, making it easy to reach out to them. Finally, he advocated that a percentage of the relief materials should be set aside for the persons with disabilities to ensure they are not overlooked in the distribution process.

The Kaduna State government recently earmarked 500 million naira for the procurement and distribution of relief materials to vulnerable groups in the State. The distribution of the relief materials has commenced in eight pilot local government areas of Chikun, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi, Zaria, Sabon Gari, Jema’a and Kaura.

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