“Federal Government Launches Comprehensive Empowerment Program for Persons Living With Disabilities”

…Distributes POS With N100,000 start-up capital, award Tertiary Education Scholarships of 130,000 each, train on business start-ups, register business names at CAC, and provide Loans up to 1 billion Naira, from BOI.

The Federal Government has approved a ten percent inclusion for Persons Living With Disabilities, PLWDs in all Federal Government interventions and schemes of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

Dr Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, made this known during the launch of the Empowerment Programme for Persons with Disabilities at the Art and Culture Conference Hall, Abuja.

According to Dr. Edu, PLWDs will also benefit from all the programs under the Ministry, including the End Hunger program, Conditional Cash Transfer, N-power, Renewed Hope Shelters Program, Geep Programmes as well as the CODE NIGERIA program among others. The inclusion will be selected and implemented through the National Commission for Persons With Disabilities.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Minister said, “does not see them as Persons With Disabilities but sees them as Persons with Special Abilities” She commended the President for signing the African Charter on the Protection of the Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities and subsequent appointments of Persons living with Disabilities into key positions in Government. She commended the National Assembly for ensuring that PLWDs have a say in the affairs of the country through their legislation.

“Over the years, the voice of Persons With Disabilities could not be heard, they were silenced in all sectors, and their brand was neglected, but the government of President Tinubu has brought hope to them. “The Renewed Hope Agenda is aimed at pulling 50 million Nigerians, including PLWDs, out of poverty within 42 months,” she said

On the occasion, the Minister symbolically presented Point of Sales (POS) machines and N100,000 operational capital to PLWDs.
She announced the sum of N130,000 as scholarship support to PLWDs in tertiary institutions across Nigeria and made a presentation of N20 million annual grant to the Association of Persons Living with Disabilities in Nigeria

Dr. Edu equally flagged the federal government’s training of PLWDs on business development, and business registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission while creating a link with the Bank Of Industry which will enable them access up to 1 billion Naira low-interest loans from the Bank of Industry to enhance their businesses and equally contribute to job creation wherever they reside in the country.

The Minister, however, warned against the misuse of the opportunities, saying the government will be strict in monitoring and evaluating all the empowerment, admonishing the beneficiaries to make good use of the Federal government empowerment to support their families and communities.

She described the empowerment program as a beacon of hope that would illuminate the path toward an inclusive and equitable society.

“This program is not merely about assisting in empowering individuals to take charge of their lives, pursue their dreams, and meaningfully contribute to our nation’s progress, but it is in line with Mr. President’s vision of leaving no one behind in this great work of development. ”

“Make good use of this gesture of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, embrace it, and be determined to make a difference in the society,” “We want to teach you how to fish, we are no more giving fish, we want to empower you to be useful to yourselves, the society and remain good ambassadors of this nation” She added.

Speaking earlier the Executive Secretary, of the National Commission for Persons With Disabilities, Dr James Lalu, commended President Tinubu for the 6 appointment of Dr Edu, which he described as “the most impactful thing that has happened to the disabilities community in Nigeria”. He expressed delight that with Dr Edu as Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, the hope of PLWDs will be renewed due to her passion and empathy for them.

Dr.Lalu said the empowerment program was part of the marching order given by the Minister to the Disability Commission to change the narratives, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu

“All that you are seeing today was made possible because we have a Minister who is pushful and is on the Commission’s neck to do things differently and better, Thank you, my Honourable Minister, we are beginning to see the result of your push” The ES of the Commission promised full implementation of the Disability Act while working assiduously to protect and support PLWDs in the country.

On his part, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disabilities, Alhaji Abah Isah, stressed that the Renewed Hope For the Persons Living with Disabilities was guaranteed with Dr Betta as Minister given her zeal and dexterity to implement President Tinubu’s Agenda. He assured the PLWD community that the beginning is bright and the future is assured for all irrespective of their conditions. He advises the banks and all other organizations to remove any bottleneck that will exclude people living with disabilities from accessing support and empowerment.

Speaking on behalf of the National Assembly, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Persons Living With Disabilities,
Hon Bashiru Dauda said inclusion and protection of the rights of those with disabilities is guaranteed under the leadership of the 10th National Assembly with its legislations and the inclusion of sign language in its proceedings.

Dauda emphasized that discrimination against Persons with disabilities is highly prohibited in Nigeria and called on citizens to see them as part of society. He assured PLWDs that the National Assembly would protect them under the established law in Nigeria.

The Representatives of the Bank of Industry and Corporate Affairs Commission were on hand to register and open new businesses for PLWDS while admonishing the beneficiaries on how to improve their businesses.

Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair,
SA Media & Publicity to HM FMHAPA

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