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COVID-19: PWDs Call for Inclusion as Government Plans Third Round of Palliative Distribution

With the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, there have been calls from People with Disabilities (PWDs) for the assistance of any sort that could ease their situations. According to a United Nations Report in 2006, there are about 4 million PWDs in Kano State. This group has continually cried out that even before the pandemic, Government did little or nothing to help ameliorate their plights.

In a radio interview with Correct FM 100.7, Kano while speaking on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Lives of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) During and After the Lockdown, Eng. Abdulrazaq Ado Zango, Chairman, Kano State Initiative of Persons with Special Needs (KIPS) called on the government and all well-meaning Nigerians to remember them as COVID-19 has made almost everything difficult.

The interview was part of a  Special COVID-19 Awareness Programme by Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative (IWEI), Women, Widows and Orphans Development Initiative (WWODI), Friends of the Community (FOCO), & Kano State Educational Volunteers (KSEV) implemented by British Council with support from European Union under its Agents for Citizen Driven Information (ACT) programme.

Abdulrazaq said a lot of support came from well-meaning individuals and the government to help people cope with the pandemic, but PWDs were not included in any decision or policy-making committee created to tackle the COVID -19 pandemic. Their members did not get any share of the palliatives distributed.

“Neighbors and several well-meaning Nigerians helped with food. The communities helped, but there was no help from the government at all levels. Apart from palliatives, PWDs have several other needs like health needs. Some of them need to see a doctor on a daily basis, and with the lockdown, it was very difficult for them.

“The Federal Government released ₦50 billion for SMEs to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the criteria to access it is too long and stressful for PWDs. A government that is always shouting inclusion should have made the loan easily accessible without much stress. This will go a long way to provide PWDs with something to do and will reduce the rate at which they beg on the streets.”

He further said they are aware that Kano State Government is planning to distribute the third batch of palliatives. After Sallah break, he said they would reach out to the Government and ask them the position of PWDs. They also plan to let the Government understand the need to consult with disabled stakeholders from all the disability clusters in Nigeria and ensure PWDs are involved in the disbursement of palliative amongst the disability community.

Furera Isiaka

Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED)

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