FREEPRESS – President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Head of Service, Mrs. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, to increase recruitment quota for people with disabilities from two to 10 per cent.He gave the charge yesterday, as Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the 2018 International Day of Persons With Disabilities.
Buhari equally promised to sign into law, the People with Disabilities Bill, as soon as the National Assembly passes it.Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, Dr. Samuel Alkali, represented the president at the launch of Baseline Survey of Persons with Disabilities in the federal civil service.
The theme of this year’s conference was: “Empowering Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and ensuring their inclusiveness and equality.”Oyo-Ita added that the survey would provide disaggregated data of PWDs in the service to enhance a better understanding of the issues and challenges.She said the HOS is partnering with the Albino Foundation for the pilot project to tackle the project.
In a presentation, President and Founder of The Albino Foundation, Mr. Jake Ekpelle, declared that the project, which is being funded by various partners, as the Australian Embassy High Commission in Nigeria, as well as the European Union, has already conducted survey in six states in Nigeria.
Also, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustafa yesterday in Abuja, cited various negative, hostile social environments, physical obstacles, inaccessibility, and absence of adaptive communication technology and mobility constraints facing PWDs.
Mustafa said persons with disabilities must be given equal opportunities to realise their potentials and contribute their quota to national development.He recalled that the president had in 2017, signed the Marrakesh treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled.
In a similar development, President of Network for the Advancement of People with Disabilities, Melody Omosah yesterday appealed to governments to provide for sign interpreters in the 2019 elections.
“INEC should take proactive and pragmatic steps to make 2019 general elections more accessible and inclusive of persons with disabilities,” he said.Omosah, who spoke in Benin City, equally called for provisions for persons with disabilities in IDP camps.
He disclosed that no fewer than 27.3 million Nigerians, who live with various forms of disabilities, need government assistance.The president called for the establishment of a policy for persons with disabilities, as well as prioritisation of free, compulsory and quality education for children with disabilities.