Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Plateau state government has trained two persons with disabilities on orthotic and prosthetics in Malaysia for one year and six months, and has approved the sum of 3.7million naira to support a deaf student to complete his fees at Gallaudet University, USA.
The state governor, Barr Simon Lalong, has also appointed about six persons with disabilities, including members of the state cabinet, into government, which is the highest in Nigeria.
The governor spoke during an official commissioning and distribution of free assistive devices for people living with disabilities in Plateau state, which held at the Deputy Governor’s Office at Old Government House Rayfield, Jos.
Governor Lalong also approved for the additional 53 employment slots for the Disability Commission for the establishment of final offices and improved service delivery to the grassroots.
A directive was also given to chairman of Disability Rights Commission, Hon James Lalu, to conduct baseline survey on persons with disabilities in all districts and wards to enable the government to map out effective strategies for the inclusion and empowerment of persons with disabilities in the state.
The state government is also partnered with Mobility Aids Appliances and Development Centre, MAADEC, London, to donate 550 Wheelchairs and Tricycles, 280 Crutches, 150 Blind Guide Canes, 10 Walking Frames, and 50 Walking Sticks to the state to the beneficiaries of the distribution of the assistive aids.
Governor Lalong emphasized that, “This survey is the first of its kind in Nigeria. Next month, I will commission the survey report, strategic plan for the Commission and a standard website to promote the Commission to the international community.”
He explained that, the state government is also partnering with OTTOBUCKS in Germany to build a world-class workshop where artificial limbs of global standards are to be produced in the state at a low-cost.
According to him, “The purpose of the commissioning and mass distribution of assistive devices to people with disabilities in Plateau state m- when the world is celebrating the International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD) – is not a mere coincidence but rather a loud testimony of our resolve as a government to give succor to people with disabilities.”
He reiterated that, for the umpteenth time as he has stated in the past that, ‘disability is not synonymous with inability,’ but we have resolved to carry every individual along, irrespective of their physical conditions or status, so as to achieve the overall developmental objectives of the Rescue Administration in the state.
The theme for this year’s IDPD, which is: “Empowering Persons with Disabilities and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality,” is indeed apt and timely, considering that it focuses on the empowering of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development, which is in line with the administration’s cardinal policy thrusts.
The governor noted that, “Disabilities Policy is an ambitious plan of action that is first among equals in Nigeria, leaving no one behind in our journey to achieving our peaceful and prosperous dreams, where the dignity of an individual person, and equality among all, is placed on the front burner, as enunciated by the United Nations.
“At the onset of this administration, we constituted the Plateau State Disability Rights Commission charged with the responsibility of ensuring the full and equal participation of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society, and create the enabling environments by, for and with persons with disabilities.
“It is gratifying to disclose that the Commission has vigorously pursued its mandate with astonishing speed and outcomes.
“It has secured for people with disabilities donors’ assistance and support, such as the mobility aids, which we are commissioning and distributing today, as well as timely interventions, some promissory, in the areas of improved access to quality education, access to health services, construction of accessibility facilities, mass empowerment projects, skills development in modern technologies, among others.
“The successes recorded in our pursuit of the disabilities cause are legion. For instance, in 2017, the state government, in collaboration with Tolaram Charity Foundation distributed about 500 free artificial limbs to amputees in the state, having approved and paid the requisite counterpart funds,” the Governor Lalong stated.
Lalong cautioned people with disabilities, who received such aids in the past but later sold them out, that, while government will continue to do the best that it can to help everyone maximize their potentials and contribute their quota of Nation-building, “You must refrain from such ingratitude and unpatriotic act and make the best use of what you are taking back home today.”