The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Friday, commenced the construction of a 40-unit toilet for Alheri Leprosy Colony in Yangoji, Kwali Area Council of Abuja.
Speaking Friday in Abuja during the flag-off of the construction and renovation project, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), James David Lalu, said that the project will be completed and ready for use within two months, in line with fulfilling the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He said: “We remain committed to the improvement of the lives of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria. That is why the NCPWD was established in 2020 to implement the provisions of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act 2018.
“Today, we are at Yangoji as part of our strong partnership with the FCTA, through the Mandate Secretary of the Social Development Secretariat. We are going to construct 40 accessible toilet for the colony. We are going to remove the roof that are already rotten to make sure that our people sleep peacefully when the rainy season comes.
“This is another calling for the FCT Minister, Chief Nyesom Wike, to pay more attention to issues affecting PWDs. I know that when he was Governor of Rivers state, we saw him in the media commissioning one project or the other. However, we never saw him commission a single project for PWDs.
“Therefore, he has to understand that there is another expanded mandate to improve the quality of life of PWDs. Therefore, we will partner with the FCT to make sure that in the nearest future the minister starts commissioning projects to improve the quality of life of PWDs.
“In the next two months, we will be here to commission this project. We are very grateful to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, for her motivation. Since she assumed office, she makes sure she never sleeps until she touches lives of PWDs.
“She will be here during the commissioning to make sure the project is of top quality and that it touches the lives of PWDs across the federation. She will ensure that she reciprocates the people who voted for the president in 2023, because 2027 is coming. We have to fulfil the promises made to the people. This is the beginning of the journey.
“Disability issue is gaining ground in Nigeria. Mr President recently signed the African Protocol on PWDs. We are preparing to take the document to Addis Ababa to show to the world that Mr President has issues affecting PWDs at heart.
“We are looking forward to a time when even normal people will be pretending to have disability because of the benefits. We have already started seeing people with fake disability, so the PWDs community will have to be vigilant before the fake people will come and usurp their benefits.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Betta Edu, who was represented by her Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair, said that the Ministry and President Tinubu are committed to bettering the lot of the leprosy colony in particular and PWDs in general as they have special abilities.
“You are very special and you have ability. They are evidences to show that you are doing what even so-called able people cannot do. That is why you must not be neglected. You will be well taken care of. Your positive journey begins today.
“Like was started yesterday, 10 per cent of the ministry’s empowerment programmes will be reserved for the PWDs, which will be supervised by the Executive Secretary of NCPWD. You will be included in N-Power, GEEP, and other intervention programmes supervised by the ministry through the Executive Secretary of NCPWD.
“Anything that will reduce humanitarian crisis or poverty index in Nigeria is what the President has signed for. That is the implementation we are doing across the country. You will agree with me that we have been disseminating the message and taking action where necessary. Part of the action is why we are here today,” she said.
Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, Alhaji Abba Isa, said that the President is determined to uplift the situation of PWDs in Nigeria and will create more opportunities for PWDs to thrive in the country.
On his part, the contractor, Engr. Isaac Ebeka, said that everything needed for the project is on ground and that it will be completed within two months, adding that different projects for PWDs will be executed across the country for them to have a sense of belonging.
Also speaking, the Chief of Yangoji, Dantali Chidau Yakubu, said that the leprosy colony was founded in 2006 and that his people have been coexisting with the leprosy colony people without discrimination.
“When they came in 2006, we accommodated them. We have been living together. We shake hands, we eat together without any form of discrimination. Even as landlord and tenants, there is no difference between us. We check on ourselves, including the chief of the leprosy colony calling to check on us.
“When I look at their hands, I used to be surprised and often wonder how they can farm so well. We thank the government and organisations that often offer help to them, but they need more interventions,” he said.
Similarly, the Chief of the leprosy colony, Alhaji Ali Isa, who spoke in Hausa, said that the people are grateful for the toilet being constructed for them and look forward to more interventions by the FCTA and the federal government.