The federal government has stepped up modalities to care for Women and Children with disabilities in the country.
The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Bashir Nura Alkali disclosed this in a one-day meeting with stakeholders in Abuja.
Represented by the Director of Humanitarian Affairs Department Alhaji Ali Grema, he said that,” the coalitions of stakeholders are to evolve modalities on the best global practices to care for women and children with disabilities.
“It is widely acknowledged that Humanitarian organisations, including UN agencies, local and international non- governmental organisations and women coalitions, often fail to identify and meet the needs of women and girls with Disabilities.
“Women and girls with disabilities suffer the double burden of firstly being women and secondly having disabilities. There are still significant gaps in operationalizing the mainstreaming of gender and disabilities at field levels, and the specific needs and capacities of women and girls with disabilities are often under- presented in gender protection disability fora and in Humanitarian circle. They are often excluded in decision making processes as well as in coordination activities”.
“The involvement of CSO/ NGOS at all levels of development will facilitate the real results for advancement of the rights and inclusion of PWDS in decision making, programmes and activities”.
According to Alkali ” a coalition of Civil Society Organisation or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for the care and support of women and girls with disabilities can play a critical role in bridging the development and Humanitarian divide in emergencies ,and can as well help in strengthening community resilience in situations of protracted crisis, when meaningfully included in humanitarian coordination and decision making, hence the launch by the Ministry”.
Also, director of Special Needs in the ministry, Mrs Nkechi Onwukwe, said the meeting was aimed at evolving strategies on holistic care and support for women and children with disabilities..
She said it was in line with Social Development Goals numbers 1, 3 and 5, adding that the ministry would continue with its concerted efforts towards addressing issues that relate with persons with disabilities in Nigeria in general.
In his remarks, Executive Secretary of the Commission for Persons Living with Disabilities, Mr James Lalu, said issues of women with disabilities were of priority attention to the commission.
He said he was aware that the minister was doing a lot to ensure that the commission had a huge budget next year to help take care of a lot of programmes for all persons living with disabilities in the country.
Lalu encouraged all persons living with disabilities to always report issues of harassment, discrimination and stigmatization against them to the commission.
“We have about five lawyers who are always ready to take up any legal issue concerning persons with disabilities in the country.
“Also, our engineers have done assessment work in Uthman Dan Fodio University of Sokoto, ABU Zaria and others on disability friendly structures in the institutions. A lot of good things is coming to us soon,” he said.
Mr Jack Epelle, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Albino Foundation, said “Churches and Mosques in the country are not disability friendly.
“It is good to have structures that are friendly to all spheres of the society. This will enhance inclusion that would enhance the lives of persons living with disability”.
Similarly, Mrs Mariam Abbas, Gender and Social Inclusion Specialist (ESPID) of Save the Children, said the NGO had programmes to strengthen protection for children and women.
“Inclusion would enhance active participation of persons with disabilities. However, we need a legislation to support that,” she said.
Mrs Patience Dickson of Advocacy for Women with Disabilities, said she would want people to see and address them as Nigerians and not persons living with disabilities.