EDDY OCHIGBO, Kaduna
Members of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWDs) Kaduna State chapter have appealed to the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai, to include them in the ongoing distribution of relief materials to vulnerable in the state.
State Chairman of the Association, Abdullaziz Suleiman, who made the plea, disclosed that “since the distribution commenced in the eight pilot local government areas, we have not been contacted or invited to be part of any committee that will ensure that our members adequately benefit”.
He further stated that when they heard of the plan by the state government to distribute relief materials to vulnerable groups; their expectations were high because the state is in the process of establishing a Social Protection system which promises to leave no one behind.
He went on: “However, we became worried when the process commenced and we were not involved, which is only a negligable number of our members benefitting. We directed their local government Chairmen to track the process and the feedback so far has not been encouraging to say the least. We pray that if Covid-19 pandemic does not kill us, hunger should not”
Also adding his voice, the State secretary of the association, Garba Abdullahi, recalled that during the Social Protection Policy town-hall meeting held at the State House, Kawo, the Governor mentioned that the Persons with Disabilities are going to be among the beneficiaries of the policy, “but unfortunately we have not been included in any committee in charge of the distribution”.
Abdullahi appealed Governor el-Rufai to review the committees and include persons with disabilities which he said, “will give us a sense of belonging to ensure that more of our members benefit”.
On his part, the Head – Social Inclusion and Gender Equity of the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment & Development (CALPED), Smith Waya, put the neglect of people with disabilities this way: ” It is worrisome because if you are talking about vulnerable groups the first group that comes to mind are the disable people. Persons with Disabilities are the most coordinated and organized vulnerable group in the State, with structures in all the local governments”.
Smith called on the state government to carry persons with disabilities along because they are organized and easy to reach. He suggested that a percentage of the relief materials be set aside for the persons with disabilities to ensure they are not overlooked in the distribution process.
It would be recalled the Kaduna state government recently earmarked 500 million naira for the procurement and distribution of relief materials to vulnerable groups in the State. The distribution of the relief materials has since commenced in eight pilot local government areas of Chikun, Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi, Zaria, Sabon Gari, Jema’a and Kaura.