‘IMPROVE INFRASTRUCTURE, PUBLIC SERVICE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES’
International Day of Persons with Disabilities aims to promote the right and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society. As the world all over celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), ActionAid Nigeria and partners have called on the Federal Government to leverage on additional revenue by closing tax loopholes and limiting unnecessary tax incentives to provide disability-friendly public services, including transport.
Ene Obi, the Country Director, while speaking in Abuja during this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities recently, with the theme, ‘Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities Towards an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable post-Covid-19 World,’ pointed out that the day aims to promote the right and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
Obi said: “ActionAid has been working on disability issues prior to 2015 when world leaders committed to achieving SDG4 to deliver equitable, inclusive, and quality education for all by 2030. ActionAid Nigeria’s evidence-based approach to work over the years showcases challenges faced by Persons with Disability, one of which is the disability and gender gaps impacting on their participation in all spheres of life.
“The research revealed a broader exclusion for women who are subjected to harmful stereotypes. This means that whatever the challenge faced by Persons with Disabilities, women with disability suffer more and are subjected to double discrimination. Poverty and other challenges of exclusion undermine their dignity and places barriers of exclusion in the society.”
She also pointed out that children with disability in Nigeria equally face the same challenges. “ActionAid’s research on inclusive education shows that 95.5percent of children with disability are out of school because of their non-enrollment due to their condition. Those who enroll, are less likely to complete their education compared to their peers; this is associated with over-crowded classrooms, inaccessible learning environment, lack of facilities to support their learning as teachers are unable to give them the required support. These have huge impact on their ability to participate in leadership and overall development of the country.”
According to her, “Despite progress made in ratifying the Policy on Inclusive Education in Nigeria, current education resources are insufficient to achieve inclusive education; only two percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to the Universal Basic Education Commission is provided for special needs. Budgets and plans are not sensitive enough to support inclusion which makes financing inclusive education very difficult.
“The research by ActionAid and partners further revealed that Nigeria lacks the teacher workforce required to deliver inclusive education as they have not received sufficient training to practise inclusion in addition to inadequate fund to purchase the necessary technological materials. Just 20percent of $8.3 billion dollars lost to unnecessary tax incentive in Nigeria could pay for the recruitment and remuneration of estimated deficit of 790,422 primary school teachers required in the country.”
ActionAid Nigeria therefore, commends the Federal Government on the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) and call for more investment in infrastructure and public services that account for the needs of this teeming population, and by extension, everybody’s need. Governments should ensure that PWDs participate equally and meaningfully in all processes; designing, legislating and budgeting for city planning and public transport.