By Bolanle Olabimtan,

The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) says over 100,000 PWDs will be awarded scholarships in 2022, to study within and outside the country.

James Lalu, executive secretary of the commission, said this when Dr. Chike Okogwu, the ED, CARE and anchor of ‘The Specials TV Show’, paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

Lalu spoke on the importance of educating PWDs in order for them to cope with challenges and responsibilities.

He said the NCPWD is in partnership with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to see how to make education attractive to PWDs.

“We have an estimated six million children with disabilities today in Nigeria that are out of school. Adoption of the school environment is one of the important areas,” he said.

“Also, provision of assistive technology and devices for PWDs to be able to go to school is important. This is because, some PWDs in rural areas cannot go to school due to lack of wheelchair or mobility.

“The commission is bracing up to provide scholarships for a minimum of 100,000 PWDs in 2022. This is by virtue of our commitment in the 2022 budget and we are committed to providing the scholarships.

“It will cut across all states of the federation. We will provide an open ground for the selection of the persons based on merit and we will make sure they get these scholarships.”

Lalu expressed concern over discrimination against PWDs in health care centres, which he described as a contravention of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act.

“This is because the Act makes provision for free healthcare services for children with mental disability and other types of disabilities,” the executive secretary said.

“However, we are partnering with health management organisations in the country to provide health insurance schemes for thousands of PWDs. We are going to inaugurate the scheme later this year and start properly in 2022.

“PWDs are also being carried along in areas of agriculture, conditional cash transfer (CCT) and N-Power. Over 50,000 PWDs are benefiting from CCT and over 40,000 are enrolled in N-Power.

“I am very positive that the era of discrimination against PWDs is over, as the NCPWD is ever ready to ensure that their livelihoods and prosperity are enhanced, without compromise.”

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