The Centre for Infrastructural and Technological Advancement for the Blind (CITAB), has commended the Federal Government over its recent approval of the composition of the Governing Council of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), describing it as a right step in the right direction.
This was contained in a press release issued by the Group’s Executive Chairman, Jolomi Fenemigho on Wednesday. It would be recalled that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, recently announced the take-off of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD). This followed the approval of the appointment of executive members of the commission by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Monday.
Fenemigho expressed delight on the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD), and the appointment of its executives which according to him “would bring succour to disabled persons in Nigeria”.
In his words, “the current standard of education for the disabled is a big joke, the number of jobless disabled persons in the country outweighs those disabled who are actually employed and we can only hope that the commission do the needful by bringing relief and implementing the provisions of the discrimination against persons with disability prohibition act, 2018.
Fenemigho further voiced his displeasure towards the manner at which the education of the disabled is being treated with so much levity. According to him, “it is only in Nigeria that you would find an unqualified person tasked with the role of a special educator who is totally oblivious to the profession and yet, they get ignorantly employed just to fill the void and even those special educators out there who are not so passionate about their profession ride solely on the main stream method of teaching, regardless of the fact that special students need special attention and that alone is a major problem that the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) should look into, can you imagine a special educator who doesn’t know what braille is?“
Fenemigho also added, “even during this pandemic when there is a transition from the normal classroom learning system to the virtual or E-learning platforms, the disabled community especially the blind and visually impaired are still marginalized and that alone depicts the inconsiderateness of the Federal Government towards their plight. The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) should partner with relevant agencies and organizations to provide an accessible academic website for the disabled, provide academic learning materials in different accessible formats or better still, seek the services of cloud based accessible learning management systems (LMS) such as canvas to aid the disabled community academically.”
Fenemigho further tasked the National Commission for PWDs to resolve the ever growing number of unemployed disabled in the country adding that they should focus more on creating more job opportunities for the disabled in the country.
According to him, “recruitment into the Federal Government’s ministries and parastatals occurs almost yearly but history shows that there have never been a massive recruitment for the disabled into the federal civil service commission, instead they expect disabled persons to follow the same rigorous process of registration and it is the same government that would go back on their words by violating the discrimination against persons with disability prohibition act, 2018 that states under section 6, sub-section 29: All employers of labor in public organizations shall, as much as possible, have persons with disabilities constituting at least 5% of their employment.
He further stated that: “In order to actualize President Muhammadu Buhari’s developmental agenda for the disabled in the country, his administration needs to promote the use of technology for the disabled citizens of the country so that they can be self-reliant”.
He appealed to the commission to establish accessible ICT Training Centres equipped with the necessary gadgets for persons with disability in each of the 36 states.
The CITAB’s boss also expressed dismay over the inaccessible state of some infrastructures in the country and called for a total reconstruction of roads, pedestrian bridges, walk-ways and side-walks for ease of access to disabled persons in the country.
According to him: “we at CITAB believe the federal Government has a responsibility to renovate and install accessible features in all federal owned structures in the country for easy access to the disabled in line with the 2018 discrimination against persons with disability (prohibition act) which states in section 2, sub-section 5: Road side-walks, pedestrian crossings and all other special facilities as set out in the First Schedule made for public use shall be made accessible to and usable by person with disabilities including those on wheelchair and visually impaired.