The Federal Government has dedicated 10 per cent of its various social interventions to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), according to Dr Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.
Edu revealed this in Abuja while inaugurating various empowerment programmes sponsored by the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD).
She said President Bola Tinubu had directed that the disability community be given priority in all government intervention programs.
”Mr President has instructed that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation should dedicate 10 per cent of all humanitarian and poverty alleviation interventions to persons with disabilities.
”Today is the flag-off of the empowerment of people living with disability.
“Already, we are into conditional cash transfers for 15 million households; out of this figure, 10 per cent is reserved for the disability community.
”So, we are happy and very proud of the disability commission for pushing on all fronts to ensure that the Renewed Hope Agenda is achieved.
”We are providing POS machines to persons with disability across Nigeria so that they can be the last-mile distributors of the funds to people living in villages and hard-to-reach areas,” she said.
The minister also announced the donation of N100,000 to each beneficiary of the POS machines to help them kick-start their businesses.
”We have also provided not just the POS machines, but the N100,000 capital for them.
We also gave N130,000 each as a scholarship to some physically challenged students in tertiary institutions.
Beyond this, we have also been able to bring officials of the Corporate Affairs Commission here to carry out proper registration of their businesses. About N20 million has been released for that purpose.
”Rather than begging, the PwDs will be running businesses that will empower them, their society, and everyone around them.
“We are having several other interventions, like giving out grants to associations that deal with disabilities,” she said.
Edu said that the federal government was committed to supporting the educational needs of Nigerians, including persons with disabilities.
Earlier, the Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr James Lalu, had said that the gesture was aimed at empowering the disability community to become economically self-reliant.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Disabilities, Mr Bashiru Dauda, assured Nigerians that his team would ensure an effective legal framework that would protect the rights of PwDs in Nigeria.
Mrs Ruth Ofomo, the representative from the Bank of Industry (BOI), said the bank had provided a microcredit loan of N10 million to small-scale business holders.
Ofomo said the loan should be accessed without any form of discrimination.
On his part, Mr Abba Isa, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, said that there are about 31 million people with disabilities in Nigeria.
Isa challenged stakeholders to support efforts toward including PwDs in governance and other social interventions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event featured the presentation of scholarship awards to students living with disabilities.