The directors and chief executives responsible for rehabilitation and service delivery to persons with disabilities (PD) from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have converged, at the initiative of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Affairs. Development.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference on Friday in Abuja, the permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr. Nasir Sani Gwarzo said the conference will provide a platform for experience sharing, brainstorming and learning lessons about issues affecting the well-being of people with disabilities. , as well as charting the way forward for effective service delivery for persons with disabilities in the country.
He said, “It is pertinent that the Directors and Chief Executive Officers responsible for Disability Rehabilitation in Nigeria from all States and the FCT meet every year to continuously deliberate on matters affecting persons with disabilities.
This is with the aim of proposing actionable decisions that will improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities to enable them to contribute meaningfully to national development, as well as keeping abreast of current and emerging issues and how to program effectively to disabled people.
“You will recall that in early 2019, the current administration signed into law the Disability Discrimination (Prohibition) Act after suffering many years of setbacks.
“The law must provide for the full integration of persons with disabilities into society, which has led to the creation of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities with responsibilities in education, health care, social, economic and social rights. civilians of persons with disabilities and other related issues.
“In line with the enactment by the current administration of the Disability Discrimination (Prohibition) Act 2018, it is pertinent that States enact this Act for the effective provision of services to all persons with disabilities at across the country.
“We therefore believe that this forum will give all of us an opportunity to rub our minds, deliberate and come up with concrete steps to ensure that the target group – the disability community, for whom we serve, get the best of ourselves.”
Also speaking, the Ministry’s Special Needs Director, Mrs. Nkechi F. Onwukwe, said that the State Directors and Chief Executives had just completed a 2-day capacity building in some specific areas of programming , including resource mobilization, planning and project management. as monitoring and evaluation, which aimed to strengthen their skills and knowledge in these areas.
She said, “These conferences aim to address emerging issues affecting the overall survival, care and development of people with disabilities in Nigeria. Therefore, the objectives of this year’s conference are: To provide a platform for sharing experiences, brainstorming and learning lessons on issues affecting the well-being of people with disabilities.
“It is about charting the way forward for effective service delivery for people with disabilities in the country;
Educate state directors on the need to incorporate the Disability Discrimination (Prohibition) Act, for states that have not yet done so, among others.
“The heart of this meeting is rushed to the fact that all of us, as active stakeholders, must do more for our target population. As we may know, people with disabilities (PD) are a social group vulnerable to social discrimination and negative public perceptions.
“They also face attitudinal barriers from the community, family members and service providers, as well as environmental and communication barriers. These barriers have not only reduced their voice and participation in program planning, but also their access to essential services.
“They also face systemic marginalization that results in lower economic and social status, increased risk of violence and discrimination, barriers to accessing education, health care, information and services and justice as well as civic and political participation, thereby hindering their participation on an equal footing with others.
“The ministry will continue its conscious efforts to address issues related to persons with disabilities in Nigeria generally. We are aware that we cannot do it alone, hence the need for more effective collaboration with all stakeholders, especially our state counterparts.