The Center for Citizens with Disability, CCD, has drawn attention of governments at all levels to proactively take measures that will protect people with disabilities.
This the Center said because, Nigeria is today faced with unprecedented security challenges ranging from armed robbery, Cultism, kidnapping, militancy, herdsmen militia and Boko Haram insurgency.
The recent attack in the meddle belt of Nigeria, Benue and Plateau States in particular is source of serious concern to Nigerians with disabilities, it said adding that whenever attack occurs in Nigeria, beyond the casualties, are those that suffer from one form of disability or the other.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos at the weekend, executive director of the CCD, David Anyaele, said the worrisome part of this situation is that the Nigeria State struggles so much to report number of citizens that suffers disability as a result of these attacks, thereby subjecting survivals of these attacks to total abandonment and neglect by the State, whose primary responsibility is to protect the lives of its citizens.
Anyaele observed that numerous effects of these attacks, lies the fact that more Nigerians are being confined to disability, ranging from physical disability, sight impairment, hearing impairment, mental disability among others.
“The fact that no verifiable data exists in the country on the real number of Persons with Disabilities and their disability types, thus giving room to institutionalized exclusion and marginalization in developmental agenda in the country, is very worrisome”, he said.
Speaking further, he said that corruption in Nigeria is at endemic levels, government officials are unaccountable, formal and informal institutions do not deliver standard services, business and investment environment does not comply with regulatory and ethical standards, poverty is growing, inequality is deepening, and wealth is concentrated in a few persons, saying that Nigeria ranks 148 out of 180 countries assessed in 2017 on the perception of the state of corruption in the country.
“The high level of corruption in the country as indicated in various researches is also linked to the level of infrastructural decay, pervasive poverty and the high rate of unemployment in the country. “… endemic corruption is linked to the huge incidence of poverty in the country. Corruption is related to the massive stealing of public resources that would have been invested in providing wealth-creating infrastructure and social services for the citizenry, thus reducing poverty.” further established that “corruption in Nigeria constitutes serious leakages of public resources that are required for promoting pro-poor and anti-poverty programmes”.
Anyaele said the CCD is therefore in support of government efforts and campaign to scrap out corruption in the society, adding, “Recognizing the impact of corruption to the society, which in many cases could be traced as a major driver of incidence of disability in the country due to looting of State resources earmarked for the provides goods and services. The inability of the citizens to access quality health services, education, road infrastructures to mention a few contributes in no small measure to incidence of disability as a result of looting of fund budgeted for the procurement and provision of social amenities that will enhance the quality of lives of the citizens.”.
He said , the CCD is collaboration with other civil society organizations such as Action Aid, Centre for Democracy and Development, Centre for Communication and Social Impact amongst others for the implementation of a project titled Strengthening Citizens’ Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C).
The aim of the project is to contribute to the reduction of corruption by the year 2022., and that the Center will be mobilizing Nigerians with disabilities in Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, and Lagos States for the first phase of the project.
“That notwithstanding, CCD wishes to express our sincere gratitude to the government and good people of Switzerland for the release of the sum of 322.51 million United States of America Dollars looted by the former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha to the Federal Government of Nigeria. We also appreciate the Federal Government of Nigeria for the declaration of the total amount recovered from the Swiss authorities.
However, we are worried that President Mohammadu Buhari’s intends to share the money among so called poor Nigerians whose identity and data are unknown to Nigerians in the name of National Social Safety Net Programme. This so called National Social Safety Net Programme was designed at the exclusion of more than 25 million Nigerians with disabilities whose conditions were made worse due State neglect and institutionalized discrimination and stigmatization and corruption.
Whereas, the recently Nigeria has been ranked as the leading countries like India with largest number of citizens living in extreme poverty. The report shows that Nigeria has an estimated 87 million citizens in extreme poverty. Interestingly, CCD estimates that citizens with disabilities constitute more than 30% projected people living in extreme poverty. This is because disability causes poverty and poverty causes disability. Unfortunately, the Nigeria State has failed to acknowledge its citizens with disabilities in the development agenda due to lack of voice and visibility of Nigerians with disabilities”, he said.