Nigeria: Coronavirus - Women With Disabilities Lament Exclusion From Government Intervention Programmes

Women living with disabilities in many states across Nigeria have registered their displeasure over their exclusion from the intervention programmes by the government during the coronavirus pandemic.

The women said this during a virtual training organised to empower women with disabilities. The training was organised by BONews Service with support from Urgent Action Fund-Africa.

The virtual training had in attendance women with disabilities (WWDs) from different states.

The training revolved around empowering the women to be the voice in issues that affect them the most. These include human right issues, gender-based violence, rape and abuse that the women might experience.

The organisers of the training exposed the WWDs to areas that will build their capacity to demand disability-inclusion in their various states.

Expressing their grievance at the virtual training, Stella Udoka from Ebonyi, said the state governor gave N1 million to Persons living with disabilities (PLWDs), across the state, an amount which was insufficient to cater for their needs.

"When the money was shared, it amounted to N1,500 per person. This was during lockdown when there was restricted movement and people couldn't go to far locations to collect the N1,500 because they would have spent more than that on the cost of transportation.

"Because of our disabilities, we couldn't move independently and it is another cost to go with an aide because we want to collect N1,500."

Mrs Udoka said if persons with disabilities were included in the planning stage, the governor would have known that N1 million was not enough for PLWDs.

She added that there is a need to include representatives of PLWDs when deciding on matters that affect them.

Another WWD from Ekiti State, Helen Ibitoye, said they were excluded from the distribution of relief packages in the state, until they cried out on all avenues, including social media.

She lamented the approach of the state government, emphasising the need to give consideration to the most vulnerable groups in the society.

Bilikisu Zango, a resident of Kano State, said there is an urgent need of inclusion of persons with disabilities across different states.

"Everything is centred at the top while those at the grassroots are not included in the real life aspect of what matters most to WWDs.

"Sidelining groups of Women with disabilities and Disabled Peoples Organisations at various levels of governments; local, states and national level, makes it difficult to achieve meaningful impact in mitigating the negative impacts of the humanitarian issues regarding WWDs," she said.

Mrs Zango said there is a need for quick intervention.

At the training, Ekaete Umoh, the National President of Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWD) encouraged the women not to relent in their fight for inclusion at all levels.

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