Presidential aide stresses need for data on People Living with Disability



The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, Dr Samuel Ankeli, has called for data captioning of People Living with Disabilities (PLWD) for proper planning and inclusion in national development.

Ankeli told the News Agency of Nigeria that PLWD had been excluded from programmes of the government due to the lack of accurate data.

He also decried insufficient funds to properly implement the Disability Act that was recently signed law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“ Without accurate data we cannot plan. We cannot source for funds even from international donor agencies.

“We have been canvassing about the disability bill, the president has signed the law, there is a Disability Act now but getting fund is a problem.

“This is partly because we do not know the number of disabled (persons) we have in the country and that is why the Basic Registry and Information System in Nigeria (BRISIN) is key.

“BRISIN will help us to identify how many people are blind, crippled, those educated, can be employed, how many can be trained in agriculture and even those interested in raising poultry.

“We do not have the statistical figure so we need BRISIN and if we can solve that in disability, other systems will follow whether it is youth or women.’’

According to Ankeli, the number of PLWD is increasing by the day due to crises in the country and not much is being done to prevent, reduce or rehabilitate them.

He said there was a need for a Disability Resource Centre in the country where materials would be made readily available to the disabled and an institution to train them.

He said a National Disability Assessment Centre to assess the degree of disability and a Disability Trust Fund to finance some major projects were also needed.

Ankeli emphasised the need for more awareness campaign and training for Nigerians and the government on disability issues.

He said “ government is interested, the president is interested and the political will is there but those running the government need to understand what we are talking about.

“Training for the leaders that make the decision is important. They have to understand so they will not be ignorant of the issues

“When key decision makers get involved we have succeeded as we will not struggle to get things done on matters regarding disability.’’

On his part, Prof. Stefano Grego, Deputy Rector for International Relations, University of Tuscia, Italy, said it was important to make life easy for people living with disabilities.

“We have to make life as easy as possible for the disabled and we think the aspect of BRISIN can help in the data base organisation.

“The system is changing and we understand the growing interest and the situation in the country and we are very happy about this.

“BRISIN is a very good project, not only for Nigeria but for Italy, Europe and for Africa. And we are ready to work with you to make the project work,’’ Grego said.

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