The Wife of the President Mrs Aisha Buhari, says the Federal Government is committed to the building of the capacity, visibility and knowledge of youth with disabilities to enable them to be self-reliant and productive.
Buhari, represented by Mrs Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, said this in Abuja at the opening of a three-day workshop on Monitoring and Life-Enhancing Programme for youth living with disabilities.
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“In line with the discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act, the Federal Government under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari is committed to continually build the capacity, visibility and knowledge of youth with disabilities to be self- reliant and productive members of the society,’’ she said.
Buhari said that young people living with disabilities were among the poorest and most marginalised in society.
According to her, the UN estimates that there are between 180 million and 220 million youth with disabilities worldwide and nearly 80 per cent live in developing countries, including Nigeria.
She said the government had long recognised that the vision, imagination, ideals and energies of all young people, irrespective of their physical conditions, were vital for social, political and economic development.
Buhari thanked the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for providing a platform for purposeful engagement and further sensitisation of youth.
She implored all Ministries, Department and Agencies with youth component in their appropriation not to leave any young person behind because everyone counted.
Buhari called on institutions and organisations to initiate and undertake activities such as the workshop that was inclusive.
She called for greater recognition of the rights of people with disabilities in Nigeria to be given adequate support for effective participation on an equal basis in cultural, sporting and recreational activities.
Buhari said the Paralympians made Nigerians proud in the last Para Power Weight Lifting World Cup tagged “Abuja 2020 which shows“ there is ability in disability’’.
She said that it was her passion for the less privileged that made her established the Aisha Buhari Foundation as a platform under which Future Assured programmes were being implemented.
Mr Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, said the ministry was concerned over the challenges and limitations faced by Nigerian youth with disabilities.
Dare, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Gabriel Aduda, said that with such limitations the ministry was determined to succeed and contribute to the socio-economic development of Nigeria is extremely inspirational.
He said that the ministry recognised the importance of ensuring that all Nigerian youth, irrespective of their physical status, had equal opportunities to become productive to contribute to society.
Dare said that the ministry was working round the clock to fully mainstream activities of youth with disabilities in all MDAs that had youth component in their appropriation.
“The government is putting it to practice to scale up implementation of life-changing activities for youth living with disabilities,’’ he said.
Dare said that the youth would use the platform to educate other youth with disabilities on the opportunity and alternative sources of livelihoods available for them to key into the society.
According to him, the workshop will help the youth learn how to get involved in the flagship programme activities of the ministry.
In his speech, Hon. Yemi Adaramodu, the Chairman of the House Committee on Youth Development, said that the assembly would ensure that issues concerning the youth would be handled properly.
Adaramodu said that the house would support people with disabilities by way of appropriation.
“The Federal Government should ensure that such categories of persons are given the opportunity in the MDAs to serve their quota,’’ he said.
Adaramodu said that many buildings in Abuja were now disability friendly and called on the government to provide soft loans for the business persons among such youth.
He appealed to MDAs and organisations to employ the qualify ones among the persons with disabilities.