The Federal Government on Thursday reiterated its commitment towards the provision of an enabling environment for Youths and Students living with disabilities across the country.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo gave the assurance in Abuja during the Celebration of Youths & Children with Disabilities with the theme: ‘More Money for Primary Education: Impact and Effect on Children and youth with disabilities’, tasked all stakeholders on the need to come up with plans and programmes geared toward improving the quality of life and inclusion of PWDs in Nigeria.
He explained that the Ministry was created by the former President, Muhammadu Buhari on 21st August 2019, to institutionalise, for effective coordination of all humanitarian, disaster management, social development and coordination national responses to issues relating to vulnerable groups which essentially Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the country.
“You will recall the United Nations first celebrated the International Year of the Child in 1979 and resolved that member nations should set aside a special day to be celebrated annually in honour of their children and to ensure that issues relating to the wellbeing of the children are constantly brought to the front burner of national attention and actions.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, although a lot has been achieved in the implementation of the Child Right Act, and Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, 2018, however, much still needed to be achieved.
“I, therefore, challenge all and sundry to brainstorm on ways of improving the quality of life and inclusion of PWDs in Nigeria.
Dr. Sani-Gwarzo also pledged continuous government support in ensuring that activities meant to improve the wellbeing of Persons with Disabilities are given utmost priority.
On his part, Director in charge of Special Needs, Mr. Chogudo Sule observed that the Ministry which has mandate of coordination of national responses to issues relating to vulnerable groups which essentially also affect Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the country therefore considered it necessary to celebrate Youth and Children with Disabilities in the FCT and Nigeria at large on the occasion of 2023 Children’s Day Celebration which is dedicated to celebrate ‘Childhood’ across Nigeria.
He said: “as a society, it is our utmost responsibility to allow people with disabilities to experience a life they deserve. Disability awareness helps the Society to know about disability issues, disabled people’s lives and correcting inaccurate ideas about disabled people thereby subsides the stereotypical mindset of the society, hence providing vast opportunities for everyone to get involved in creating a positive, inclusive society for all.”
He explained that the occasion was aimed at promoting actions targeted at raising awareness about disability related issues; increase awareness on Children With Special Needs/Disabilities in our communities; move forward the issue of disabilities, so as to preserve the lives of Nigerians; and making the world know that there is ability in disability.
Speaking with Journalists at the sideline of the event, some of the Students living with disabilities tasked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Organised Private Sector (OPS) to provide free education and instruction materials including computers for the millions of Nigerians within the disability Community.
On her part, Deputy Director, Child Development Department, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs. Christiana Oliko explained that the theme of this year’s celebration “speaks to the need to amplify the needs of people living with disabilities with a view to galvanize efforts of all relevant stakeholders to ensure the wellbeing of children with special needs with particular attention to providing adequate funding and budget lines for their education.
“It is worthy of note that, education is a fundamental right of every child as articulated in the National Policy on Education. This means that progress in the enrolment, retention and completion of children with special needs cannot be overemphasized if we must realize the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda 2030 for inclusive and equitable quality education.”