July 23, 2021

Persons with disability protest shortchange in federal scheme

A person with disability rides on tricycle to get food in market in Agatu, Benue (file photo)

From Mathew Jwantu, Minna

Persons Living with Disability in Niger State have protested against what they describe as shortchange of their members in the ongoing Special Public Workers Scheme of the Federal Government.

The SPW scheme is expected to provide empowerment to 774,000 Nigerians – 1,000 each from the 774 local government areas across the country.

Twenty-five thousand persons in Niger State are expected to benefit from the scheme.

Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disability in Niger State, Isah Abdullahi who led other members to the Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, lamented that despite the directive by the federal government that at least five percent slots be given to PLwD, only 0.4 percent was allocated to them.

He said the association had forwarded names of 50 members from each of the twenty-five local government areas of the state to the National Directorate of Employment, which totalled one thousand two hundred and fifty.

Abdullahi said when the list of shortlisted persons were released, only two local government areas had considered persons with disability, giving them only one hundred slots as against the one thousand two hundred and twenty-five names earlier sent.

He lamented that persons with disability have been abandoned by the government at all levels, and are not being carried along in government’s policies.

“We are vulnerable persons. In fact, if there is anybody that should benefit more from any empowerment policy of government, it should be persons with disability. Because, we are more vulnerable to poverty and disaster,” Abdullahi said.

He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of persons with disability and ensure that the anomaly is addressed.

Niger state currently has over three hundred thousand persons living with disability as at the last census in Nigeria.

Out of that figure, at least twenty percent are said to be beggars on the street.