The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), Mr. James Lalu, on Thursday, showered encomium on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his initiatives targeted at empowering persons with disabilities.
Under the arrangement, President Tinubu approved the distribution of 150 PoS machines and the sum of N100,000 each as operating capital to the beneficiaries; N130,000 scholarship intervention for persons with disabilities in tertiary institutions; as well as the distribution of an N20 million annual grant to Associations of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.
In the same vein, the Federal Government also unveiled plans to commence training and business name registration for persons with disabilities to access Bank of Industry (BoI) loans, as well as the flag-off of the renovation of the Yangoji Leprosy Centres and the construction of 40 toilets.
Speaking Thursday in Abuja, during the launch of the Empowerment Programme for Persons with Disabilities, Mr Lalu said that the empowerment of persons with disabilities (PWDs) will enable them to become financially independent and contribute their quota to national development.
He said, “When I met the Minister during the planning for this programme, she told me she would be here personally. We are glad to have a responsive minister in her. To be truthful, the Disability Commission is yearning for the inclusion of disabled people in all aspects of governance.
“During the campaign for the election of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President promised the Disability Commission renewed hope. The renewed hope has started, and we are grateful to Mr. President. The commission will continue to rise.
“In fact, the appointment of one of our brothers as SSA to the President is a sign that better things are coming. We are happy to have voted for the president. We are looking forward to another four years of quality leadership.
“Meanwhile, the event today is to empower members of the disability community, including the distribution of PoS machines. Many will also get scholarships.
“Advice from entrepreneurs and professional bodies on business matters will enable the beneficiaries to stand on their own and be financially independent, which is why we are grateful to the Honourable Minister and Mr. President,” he said.
Speaking earlier, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Betta Edu, said that the empowerment will enable the beneficiaries to provide fish for themselves instead of being given fish.
She said: “This momentous occasion marks a significant step towards creating a Nigeria where every citizen, regardless of their abilities, can thrive and reach their full potential. For far too long, people with disabilities have been marginalised and excluded from society.
“They have faced discrimination in education, employment, and access to public spaces. Their voices have been silenced, their dreams dismissed, and their talents overlooked. That is why the government took decisive steps in 2020 to uphold the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities through the enactment of a law prohibiting all forms of discrimination and prejudice against PWDs.
“Today, we stand together to break down these barriers and unleash the extraordinary potential that lies within each person with a disability.
We recognise that disability does not define a person; it is merely a part of their unique journey. The empowerment programme is therefore a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a more inclusive and equitable society.
“This programme is not merely about providing assistance; it is about empowering individuals to take charge of their lives, pursue their dreams, and contribute meaningfully to our nation’s progress. This is in line with Mr President’s vision of leaving no one behind in this great work of development.
“Through this programme, we will provide comprehensive support that encompasses skills training, financial assistance, access to education, and employment. I am confident that this intervention, especially considering the current economic realities, will have a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals, transforming their dreams into reality. We will witness the brilliance of people with disabilities shine through, illuminating our society with their unique talents and contributions.
“As we embark on this journey of empowerment, I urge us all to embrace the diversity and inclusion that persons with disabilities bring to our society, recognising that their success is our collective success.
“Together, we can build a Nigeria where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive, where disability issues are neither a burden nor an afterthought but a testament to the indomitable human spirit that must be nurtured and supported.
“I have approved 10% disability inclusion in all programmes and projects of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, which shall be implemented through the Commission.
“I am also working to support the commission in reviving all the rehabilitation and skills development centres across the country to function towards the holistic empowerment of persons with disabilities in the country.
“On behalf of Mr. President, the captain of the Renewed Hope Administration, I am hereby launching the formal takeoff of the following line of projects for the benefit of persons with disabilities and service to God Almighty.
“Distribution of 150 PoS machines and the sum of N100,000 each as operating capital to the beneficiaries; distribution of the sum of N130,000 scholarship intervention for persons with disabilities in tertiary institutions; and distribution of the N20 million annual grant to Associations of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.
“Also, this marks the commencement of training and business name registration for persons with disabilities to access Bank of Industries loans, the flagging off of the renovation of the Yangoji Leprosy cents, and the construction of 40 toilets. The beneficiaries should use this opportunity to make a difference in their own lives and to the nation at large.”