The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, has pledged support for local producers of assistive devices for persons with disabilities.
The Minister disclosed this at the opening ceremony of a 3-Day Capacity Building of Identified Local Producers of Assistive Technologies, held in Makurdi, Benue State.
The Minister who was represented by the Ministry’s Director for Special Needs, Mrs. Onwukwe Florence Nkechi, noted that the importance of Assistive Devices is clearly stressed in Article 20 (a-d) of the United Nations Convention on the rights of PWDs.
She urged the State governments to support the entities that produce mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies.
Farouq disclosed that the ministry was working in collaboration with partners to nurture and harness the potentials of PWDs as well as promoting the activities that could enhance their interaction, mainstreaming empowerment for a more sustainable economic, Social and political growth of the nation.
The Workshop was organized to enlighten and encourage local producers to develop and improve on production, enable interaction with successful and quality control of production.
The Minister pointed out that the cost of importing the devices were becoming so high for the Federal government and therefore stressed the need to look inwards.
She said,”A nationwide assessment was carried out in the 36 States and FCT to identify how and where Government can support, the report has been finalized and the finding will be incorporated into National Strategic Framework of Action” she said.
“Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has demonstrated strong leadership in policy making through the revised 2019 National Policy on Disability and Disability Act.
“Notably a strategy for improving AT production, procurement and provision is being developed in collaboration with partners.
“Also an Agency Technology Working Group on AT Technology was constituted to give guidance to the development of comprehensive road map to aid AT implemention in Nigeria.”
The Minister urged the participants to maximize the opportunity and utilize efficiently the little support that would be provided at the end of the training adding that the Federal Government remained committed to doing her best to carter for PWDs.
Earlier the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry who was represented by Magaji Garba, the Chief Community Development Officer, commended the organizers of the workshop.
The Perm. Sec. disclosed that the administration of President Buhari is passionate about the wellbeing of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
According to him, the assessment carried out nationwide in the 36 State and FCT between August 2019 and December, 2029 showed that the equipments and facilities of the local producers were outdated and dilapidated, while some had folded up due to lack of capital to strengthen producers because they could not access credit facilities from banks.
The Perm. Sec. revealed that the three days capacity building training was first in series planned for implemention across the six geopolitical zones.
He urged the participants to take the training seriously so that Nigeria can become exporters rather than importers of these devices.
He reiterated the federal government’s commitment to ensuring more inclusiveness in the production of more quality devices locally while it will equally provide employment for self reliance.
The Representative of the Commissioner for Gender Affairs and Social Development, Benue State, Terumbur Eunice Tachia expressed her profound gratitude for being part of the Workshop designed to nurture and harness the potentials of PWDs in the 36 States and FCT.
She thanked President Buhari for creating the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, saddled with the responsibility of caring for Persons with Special Needs in the country.
Tachia confessed that the administration of the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom has not relented in his efforts to better the lives of PWDs in the state.
According to her, the Governor has established programmes on education, vocational training skills, and livelihood empowerment programmes which has sustained and equipped them professionally.
She also revealed that the wife of the Governor, Dr. Eunice Ortom has a foundation (Eunice Spring of Life) which has helped to train empower and sustain persons with disabilities and make them self reliance.