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COVID-19 Pandemic: Don’t neglect persons living with disabilities in this trying time — Group appeals to FG

A society-based non-for-profit working for the social, civic and economic rights of people living with disabilities (PWD), Disability Law Advocacy Project (DLAP) domiciled in the University of Ilorin, has called on the government at levels to favourably consider PWD in all their efforts towards the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

This appeal was contained in the statement issued in Ilorin by the group on Monday and signed by the group’s project head, Joshua Olatoke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Appraising the efforts of the Nigerian government and International communities in curtailing the spread of the virus, the group noted that efforts seemed to ignore the plight of persons living with disabilities in the society.

Alluding to the recent national broadcast by Nigeria president, President Muhammadu Buhari, in which, according to the group “the efforts seem to neglect or ignore the plights of persons living with disability (PWD) in our society.

“There was no sign language interpreter to relay the message of the President to the Hard of Hearing Persons. The same therefore translates also to the exclusion of other persons living with disabilities.

“Indeed, all the measures taken so far appear to be oblivious of the people with disabilities as no mention was made of them and no form of arrangements of palliatives made to support them at this critical moment,” the statement read in part.

The group, therefore, appealed to the Federal and the State governments to ensure the inclusion of PWD in the formation of incentive schemes to cushion the effects of the lockdown in this crisis and other efforts aimed at containing the spread of the pandemic.

“DLAP calls on the Federal and the State governments to ensure that PWD are not left behind in the fights against this common enemy of mankind.

“The several economic stimulus plans rolled out by the government should not be devoid of the plights of PWD. The Lagos State government plans a distribution of food materials to close to 200 families, the question is to what extent PWD are covered in this scheme.

“It is therefore the of DLAP that specific schemes targeted at the persons with disabilities be formulated to ensure that they are not lost in the crowd. Specific packages should be made for PWD so that their disability does not become a disadvantage at this period,” the statement concluded.

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