The Disability community, on Thursday, in Abuja, commenced the validation of a ‘5 Year Strategic Plan’ to enhance absolute inclusion of persons living with disabilities (PWDs) in all spheres of human endeavours in the country.

In his keynote address, Mr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons Living with Disability (NCPWD),described the Strategic Plan as an important document.

This is something that the disability community must bring their hands together to see that disability issues succeed in Nigeria, he said..

“The establishment of the Commission was the first step, the second step was our ability to work together. The consultant has done a thorough job to bring out this plan.

“There is now need to review, so that we can include other issues and come up with a National Strategic Plan, that would help us move disability issues forward.

” To other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), disability issues is everybody’s business. Every MDA has certain responsibility to disabilities. Some of them have Disability Focal Persons. We will push for others to also have such with budgetary provisions.

“Today, we are here to look at the 5-Year Strategic Plan and ensure that our issues and activities are included so that after here, we will have a common ground to work together as one team,” Lalu said.

Also speaking, the Consultant on the development of the Plan, Dr Toyin Aderemi, said the Strategic Plan was an operational instrument to help the NCPWD to deliver on its mandate.

Aderemi explained that there was need for the commission to have a guide that it would follow; and that was what the plan was all about.

“This plan cuts across all the provisions of the Discrimination Act Against PWDs. What we got from the major stakeholders was what we need to address.

“And based on that, we developed this strategic plan to address those key areas which people and stakeholders think need to be addressed for the full inclusion of PWDs in Nigeria,” Aderemi said.

The Consultant further explained that the plan looked at how basic services like education, transport, health, employment, among others, can be accessible to PWDs

.“With this plan, we all can implement activities that would lead to more inclusion of PWDs in all key areas in the country”, Aderemi added.

Meanwhile, Mr Razak Adekoya, the Lead, Implementation of Inclusion, Sight savers International, says the role of the organisation was to support disability inclusion in Nigeria.

“We initiated the conversation around the need to have a strategic plan to guide the implementation and ensure that all relevant stakeholders can jointly work, collaborate and support the Commission”, Adekoya said.

Similarly, Mr Ishiaku Adamu, the National President, the Nigerian Association of the Blind, said it had been a long journey from advocacy to the establishment of the Commission, to the validation of the 5-year strategic plan.

“We thank God for the journey so far and we believe it will end with absolute inclusion of PWDs in Nigeria”, he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the validation workshop brought together officials from Sight savers International, Disability Right Advocacy Centre, Leprosy Mission in Nigeria, Advocacy for Women Disability, Inclusive Friends Association and many others. (NAN)

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