Renewing hope for Persons with Disabilities

The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities is a non-governmental organisation that has, on many occasions, raised concerns about the population of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the country. The argument of the organisation has been that without an accurate figure on PwDs, it will be difficult to make adequate plans for their wellness. It alleges that the 2006 Nigerian census recorded 3.2 million people as living with disabilities, or 2.32 per cent of the total population of 140 million people in that year which, according to it is inaccurate. It then enjoined the National Population Commission to cooperate with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development for a fair capturing of the PwDs in future census. Concerned persons living with disabilities have also observed that the ratified United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of 2007 and its Optional Protocol in 2010 have no any impacts on the management of PwDs across the country. According to them, the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, charged with submitting reports on progress might not have been doing so, thus limiting the understanding of disability to a treatise of welfare and charity, resulting in total neglect of the several rights of the PwDs. For instance, Mr James David Lalu, the pioneer Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, explains that it takes 20 years struggle to recognise the rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWD) in the country. 'There are a lot of things to put in place in a particular building before you can achieve an effective accessibility. 'One of the efforts we are making is to create a programme to bring together experts on accessibility, within and outside the country'', he explains. See also Commission urges NASS to establish Disability Trust Fund Similarly, Mr Abdullahi Usman, President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, notes that many PwDs are live in abject poverty 'and if you go to some parts of the co untry, they engaged in street begging because they are not educated enough to know the dangers of it. 'Our members needs skills acquisition training. If the Federal Government can help us to admit our members into skills centres to acquire different skills, we will appreciate that''. Concerned by this condition of the people living with disabilities, President Bola Tinubu's administration through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, announced a new policy direction under the Renewed Hope Agenda that in every social intervention programme undertaken by government, 10 per cent of such would be reserved for PwDs. Suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs Betta Edu, who announced the new policy while inaugurating various empowerment programmes for persons with disabilities in Abuja, said that the President directed that the disability community should be given priority in all intervention programmes of government. 'Already, we are into conditional cash transfers for 15 million househ olds; out of this figure, 10 per cent is reserved for the disability. 'So, we are happy and very proud of the disability commission for pushing on all fronts to ensure that the Renewed Hope Agenda is actually achieved,'' she noted. 'We are providing Point Of Sales (POS) machines to persons with disability across the country so that they can be the last mile distributors of the funds to people living in villages and hard-to-reach areas. 'We also gave N130, 000 each, as scholarship to some physically challenged students in tertiary institutions. 'Beyond this, we have also been able to bring officials of the Corporate Affairs Commission to carry out proper registration of their businesses and N20 million has been released for that purpose. See also Commission urges persons with disabilities to embrace sports for improved mental health 'We are having several other interventions such as giving out grants to associations linked to persons with disabilities,' she said. Edu said that the Federal Government wou ld be committed to supporting the educational needs of citizens, persons with disabilities inclusive. She also said that the ministry would collaborate with the Ministries of Finance, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, among others, to eradicate poverty in the country. 'Some people are poor because they do not have access to education while others are poor because they do not have access to quality healthcare services or are poor because they do not have access to jobs,'' she observed. She said that the ministry had been given a full department to coordinate the overall national responses on issues relating to persons with disabilities in the country. Sharing similar sentiments, Mr Abdullahi Usman, President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, therefore, commended the president for the gesture and for rectifying the African Charter on Human Rights and the rights of persons with disabilities in the country. Usman, however, decried the slow level of implementation of the pr esidential directive which he said that only half of his members had so far benefited from the intervention programme. 'First, we must appreciate the government of Tinubu with the Renewed Hope Agenda and for his wonderful job of ensuring that there is equal opportunity for all citizens. 'All we are asking for is to have equal opportunity where inclusive society will be guaranteed because nothing about us is without us,'' Usman pleaded. Ms Chisom Onyekwere, one of the beneficiaries of the Renewed Hope intervention programme that got POS machine, also expressed gratitude for the gesture. See also Multi-stakeholders approach crucial in implementing Abia disability law- Group 'I am a living witness of the Renewed Hope intervention programme and for me, the president has made impact in this one year of his government because I was given POS machine and a token of N100,000 to startup my business through the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs,'' she said. Mr Halilu Gayam, Chairman, Nasarawa State Association of the Deaf, however said that his members had yet to feel the impact of the Renewed Hope intervention programme. 'We in Nasarawa State have yet to feel the impact of president's intervention but we use to see in television as other states benefit and we hope our turn will come. 'Majority of our members in Nasarawa State are well educated because we have special needs school and the areas we would need Federal Government support is job opportunities,'' he said. Also, Ms Brisca Aaron, Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Agency for Persons with Disabilities, said that the state had benefited from the Federal Government's intervention programmes. 'The policy has been implemented in Bauchi State because the state is benefiting from the relief materials and other social interventions of the Federal Government to persons with disabilities under the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs. 'Bauch is the first in the North-East region of the country to domesticate the discrimination against Persons with Disabilities Law and we have strong synergy with the Federal Government in promoting disability inclusive projects, especially as it relates to their education, health and social wellbeing,'' she said. Observers, nonetheless, believe that Tinubu means his promise on the Renewed Hope Agenda when he said that it would leverage the nation's population and resources with main focus on unleashing the nation's full economic potential. (NANFeatures) **If used please credit the writer and News Agency of Nigeria Source: News Agency of Nigeria

HM the King Congratulates Grand Duke, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg on National Day

Rabat - HM King Mohammed VI sent a congratulatory message to Their Royal Highnesses Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria-Teresa of Luxembourg on their country's national holiday. In this message, HM the King expresses His best wishes for health and happiness to Their Royal Highnesses and prosperity to the people of Luxembourg. "The Kingdom of Morocco looks forward to enriching, jointly with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, their excellent friendship," the Sovereign underlines in this message.

AKK gas pipeline critical to Nigeria’s industrialisation, economic growth – Edun

The Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr Wale Edun has described the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project as critical to the industrialisation and economic growth of Nigeria. Edun stated this on Friday, during a working visit of three cabinet Ministers to the AKK gas pipeline project site where they inspected the River Kaduna crossing milestone of the project in Kaduna. This is coming just as the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd, Mr Mele Kyari, assured Nigerians that the project would be delivered by the end of the first quarter 2025. This is contained in a statement by Olufemi Soneye, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Ltd. Edun was accompanied on the visit by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Mohammed Malagi, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas), Ekperikpe Ekpo. Speaking at the project site, Edun described the AKK gas pipeline as the pipeline of prosperity, which is very dear to the President, because it wil l deliver the critical infrastructure needed to trigger the nation's economic growth and industrialisation. 'The AKK gas pipeline is crucial for this administration and its delivery is in line with Mr President's strategy of bringing prosperity to the people,' Edun added. Malagi said the AKK gas pipeline project was a testimony that the Federal Government's 'Decade of Gas' has commenced in earnest. 'Nigerians should be proud of the AKK Gas Pipeline project. With the delivery of this project, the prosperity that Mr President is always talking about is unravelling right here before our eyes,' he said. See also FG to explore alternative funding model for oil, gas industry development - NUPRC Also speaking, Ekpo described the gas pipeline as part of the Federal Government's many efforts to harness the nation's abundant gas resources toward improving power generation, revamping ailing industries and creating employment opportunities. Ekpo urged all stakeholders to support the NNPC Ltd. towards delivering the project and several other gas projects as the country depends on it to bring prosperity to the people. The three ministers, who lauded the NNPC Ltd. and its project partner, Brentex/CPP Ltd (BCL) on the progress made so far, also expressed optimism that the NNPC will deliver as promised. Earlier, the GCEO NNPC Ltd, Mr Mele Kyari gave the assurance the Project would be delivered by first quarter of 2025, as major segments of the job have been completed. 'Without promising too much, we assure you that this project will be delivered on schedule. 'Our mission is to work towards delivering it by December 2024. But we are confident this project will be delivered by first quarter of 2025,' Kyari said. The GCEO, who said the NNPC Ltd. recognises the strategic importance and enormous value of the project to Nigeria's economy, said the Company was bankrolling the project on the back of its own balance sheet. Gov. Uba Sani of Kaduna State, represented by his deputy, Dr Hadiza Balarabe, said the completion of the A KK gas pipeline would herald the much-needed economic and industrial revival in the state. 'If you know about the Kakuri Industrial Area and how most of our factories there have become moribund, you will understand why we in Kaduna State are all excited about the AKK Gas Pipeline. See also NUPRC rallies stakeholders, investors for gas flare elimination 'Without doubt, the pipeline will revamp our industries and bring about a huge impact on our people. We can't wait for it to be completed,' the Governor said. The AKK gas pipeline is a 40 inch by 614km linear pipeline system running from Ajaokuta in Kogi State to Kano state. It has associated intermediate terminal gas facilities and other related equipment to transport natural gas to off-takers at Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Urban renewal: Enugu govt creates new estate in Udi community

The Enugu State Housing Development Corporation (ESHDC), and the Okofia Ukana community in Udi Council Area, on Saturday, signed a partnership agreement for housing development in the community. The partnership also entailed the signing deed of customary grant for the use of large expanse of the village land for new residential and commercial houses. Mr Gerald Asogwa, the General Manager, ESHDC, and the Corporation's Secretary, Dr Anayo Edeh, signed on behalf of the corporation while Mr Chijioke Achi, the Chairman of Okofia General Assembly (OGA) and the Village Secretary, Mr Chijioke Orji, signed on behalf of the community. The ceremony which took place at the palace of the eldest man in Okofia, Chief Jeremiah Ebunyebe, was witnessed by the directors in the housing corporation as well as elders and men of Okofia community. Asogwa said that the acquisition of the land in the community's Achievers Layout would fast track the urban renewal programme of the state government. He said that Gov. Peter Mbah had planned to expand the Enugu city as the state capital was already filled up. 'There is no way we will continue to restrict the city growth to the area it occupies today. 'The Uwani area, developed years ago is already filled up, the same thing with the Independence Layout, the same thing with GRA. 'What the Governor wants to do now is what other states have been doing such as Lagos state with its Garden Atlantic City or Epe/Lekki,' he said. See also Author challenges gender disparities with new book titled 'Ichabod' According to him, it is what a people do in a place that it becomes. 'In the next couple of months that particular area which we call Blossom Garden Solar City, in which part of your land belongs, is going to have a new face like other major estates in the city,' he said. Asogwa thanked the leadership and people of Okofia on behalf of Gov. Mbah and promised that the decision it took to key into the trajectory of the governor would not be in vain. 'We will develop that place and you people are going to be proud of your decision,' he said, adding that a road project had already begun to link the capital city to the estate up to the surounding villages. He said such development would increase the value of the land, reduce travel time to the capital and open up the area for other investments. The OGA chairman, Achi, said that with the signing ceremony the community had given the corporation authorisation to begin its renewal programme in the Achievers City Layout, Phase 1 covering a total of 800 plots. Achi assured that both parties would keep to the terms of the agreement, saying that, 'it is our desire that the corporation will execute the project satisfactorily. 'We use this opportunity to thank the Enugu Gov. Mbah for bringing development to the rural community and for other department strides on various parts of the state. 'We are satisfied with what he is doing in Enugu state as projects dot every corner of the state'. See also Nigerian, 2 others win 2023 Waislitz Global Citizen Awards The chairman praised Mbah for restoring water supply in the state capital, and appealed to him to extend the water scheme to Ukana and other rural communities. He also lauded the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Uche Ugwu, for being a true representative of the people and supporting the governor to enable him to realise his development agenda Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Stakeholders donate trees to mitigate impacts of climate change

Stakeholders in the Environment sector on Saturday donated 120 trees to mitigate climate change impacts in Gasaki community of Nasarawa State. Gee Foundation a Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO) on Social Justice and Development, made the donation of trees during a one-day sensitisation. The NGO made the donation in collaboration with the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) and the French Embassy in Nigeria, The sensitisation is themed, 'Addressing Land Degradation and Enhancing Climate Resilience for improved Women's livelihood'. Dr Michael David, Executive-Director GIFSEP, urged the community to always plant trees to replace felling trees and tasked them on climate change adaptation. He appealed to them on the indiscriminate felling of trees to prevent the recent landslide experienced in the area. The executive director stated that it was of great essence and benefits to preserve the land from degradation because their livelihoods depended on it. According to Dav id, planting of trees prevents erosion, flooding, landslides and thereby mitigates the impact of climate change in an area. Mrs Gloria Agema, Executive- Director Gee Foundation, said the sensitisation against all the climate change activities that impacts on communities negatively, especially on women wouldn't have been possible without the supports of funds from the French Embassy. Agema, who expressed concern that only one borehole, served four communities, promised that they would intervene by providing the community with more boreholes to follow up with the tree plantings. Responding, Chief Zaki Tanko of Gasaki (Gasaki of Jeje), expressed satisfaction over the gestures and efforts made by the stakeholders to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the area. See also Association urges FG to outline solid minerals blueprint for efficient mining activities He assured that there would be reduction in the felling of trees and appealed for more construction of boreholes to address water scarcity in the a rea. One of the beneficiaries in the community, Jummai Abubakar, commended the stakeholders and promised to nurture her tree. 'We are grateful for this assistance, no one has come to our aid in this manner, indeed we have seen light in our community,' she said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that each participant of the workshop went home with a tree to plant and nurture. NAN also reports that the event highlighted the planting of some economic trees, such as palm, orange, mango trees as well as cultural display by the people of the community. Source: News Agency of Nigeria

FUOYE governing council chairman condemns worsening insecurity in Ekiti

Mr Kayode Ojo, Chairman, Governing Council of the Federal University of Technology, Oye-Ekiti(FUOYE), has condemned the rising insecurity and killings in Ekiti State. Ojo, who spoke through his Media Aide, Deji Aiyelabowo, on Saturday in Ado-Ekiti described the recent killings in the state as senseless, cruel and barbaric. He urged the security agencies to do everything possible to arrest the killers and face the wrath of the law. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three persons were recently killed by gunmen at different locations in Ado-Ekiti metropolis. A commercial motorcycle ticket agent was shot dead close to the former Police Headquarters, Okesha, a POS operator was killed at Adebayo area and a rice hawker was killed close to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps office at the popular Oja-Oba by yet to be arrested persons operating on motorcycle. Ojo observed that the seeming helplessness of the police in crime control and prevention in the state was worrisome. 'This despicable act must be condemned by all right thinking Nigerians, not only Ekiti residents. 'No doubt, the few criminals in our society are looking for opportunities to discourage or create fear in the minds of the people in the state so that evils can flourish. We must not allow this. 'We must not allow evils to flourish in the society and security agencies must be alive to their responsibilities by exposing criminals from within. 'Let the community fish out the criminals who carried out these dastardly act and hand them over to security agencies. See also Presidential visit: Buni salutes Yobe people for support 'The killers are human beings, who are supposed to be traceable. They are not spirit, hence, all efforts should be made by all who are supposed to do the needful,' he said. Ojo, who is an All Progressives Congress chieftain in Ekiti State, called for holistic measures to put the barbaric act under check before degenerating to uncontrollable situation. 'There is need for all security agencies to work toge ther as a team to form a formidable body to put an end to the ugly development in the state. 'The security agencies in the state should come together to work out a more professional modality to put an immediate halt to it. 'The police and other relevant security agencies must work together to bring the culprits to book to serve as deterrent to others,' he said. While commiserating with the families of the victims, Ekiti people, the government, Ojo prayed God to console them over the loss. He urged residents to always be their brothers' keepers, urging them to always be security conscious. Source: News Agency of Nigeria