The Federal Government has restated its commitment to care for and support women and girls living with disabilities across the country
By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to care for and support women and girls living with disabilities across the country.
Alhaji Bashir Alkali, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, stated this at a one-day meeting on the development of strategies for care and support for women and children with disabilities in Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
Alkali was represented by Alhaji Ali Grema, the Director of Humanitarian Affairs in the Ministry.
Alkali said there were still significant gaps in operationalising the mainstreaming of gender and disabilities at field levels.
He said the specific needs and capacities of women and girls with disabilities were often under presented.
According to him, they are often excluded in decision-making processes as well as in coordination activities.
“Women and girls with disabilities have attitudinal barriers from community members, their families and service providers alike, as well as environmental and communication barriers.
“These barriers have not only reduced their voices and participation in programme planning, but also their access to essential services, including sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence.
“No single actor or stakeholder, working alone, can implement the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities Prohibition Act of 2018 effectively.
“Thus, the Minister, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq last year inaugurated the Coalition of NGOs for the care and support of women and girls with disabilities in order to promote and advance their rights and we are 100 per cent committed to that,” Alkali said.
Also, Mrs Nkechi Onwukwe, the Director of Special Needs in the ministry, said the meeting was aimed at evolving strategies on holistic care and support for women and children with disabilities.
Onwukwe said it was in line with Social Developmemt Goals numbers 1, 3 and 5, adding that the ministry would continue with its concerted efforts towards addressing issues that relate with persons with disabilities in Nigeria in general.
In his remarks, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Persons Living with Disabilities, Mr James Lalu, said issues of women with disabilities were of priority attention to the commission.
He said he was aware that the minister was doing a lot to ensure that the commission had a huge budget next year to help take care of a lot of programmes for all persons living with disabilities in the country.
Lalu encouraged all persons living with disabilities to always report issues of harassement, discrimination and stigmatisation against them to the commission.
“We have about five lawyers who are always ready to take up any legal issue concerning persons with disabilities in the country.
“Also, our engineers have done assessment work in Uthman Dan Fodio University of Sokoto, ABU Zaria and others on disability friendly structures in the institutions. A lot of good things is coming to us soon,” he said.
Mr Jack Epelle, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Albino Foundation, said “Churches and Mosques in the country are not disability friendly.
“It is good to have structures that are friendly to all spheres of the society. This will enhance inclusion that would enhance the lives of persons living with disability”.
Similarly, Mrs Mariam Abbas, Gender and Social Inclusion Specialist (ESPID) of Save the Children, said the NGO had programmes to strengthen protection for children and women.
“Inclusion would enhance active participation of persons with disabilities. However, we need a legislation to support that,” she said.
Mrs Patience Dickson of Advocacy for Women with Disabilities, said she would want people to see and address them as Nigerians and not persons living with disabilities. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)