…receives support from representatives of PWDs

By Gabriel Ewepu

ABUJA-AS vulnerable persons in Nigeria continue to agitate for inclusion in governance and other social interventions made for citizens, an Abuja-based research institute, the Africa Polling Institute, API, disclosed initiative and moves to gather accurate data of Persons Living With Disabilities, PWDs, across Nigeria.

The disclosure was made by Executive Director, API, Prof Bell Ihua, at a one-day multi-stakeholder workshop on the Nigeria Disability Research Project held in Abuja, while explaining that this data will improve conditions of PWDs across the country.

Ihua further stated that his institute came up with the project because PWDs’ data is not reliable and they deserve an accurate data that would be used by public and private sector to improve their plight, which also development partners can work with for relevant interventions that will add value to their living conditions.

He also made it known that the project is supported by the Ford Foundation, and added that the project aims at gathering evidence-based disaggregated data that would be useful for the long term and years ahead as reference point as well.

He said: “As you know, data is life and one of the challenges that have been found so far that has not allowed the inclusion of people with disabilities is the fact there have been little data from the country on people living with disabilities.

“So with the support of Ford Foundation, the Africa Polling Institute was asked to midwife the process of generating national data on persons with disabilities in the country.”

He also explained that there are components that will be systematic in the process of gathering data for the project, “The project has four components, the first is working with the National Bureau of Statistics to generate nation wide data on persons with disabilities.

“The second component is working with academics to engage state government officials in action research to collect data on disabilities at the state level.

“The third component has to do with capacity building for persons with disabilities, especially in the area of research.

“A lot of organisations within the community want to advocate but they lack the research skill to advocate, so this project is going to help them gain the necessary research skill to be able to do the necessary advocacy.

“The fourth component is to conduct a study on sexual and gender based violence against people with disabilities.”.

However, API boss called on States yet to domesticate the Disability Act, to consider domesticating and implementing the Act.

Meanwhile, representatives of PWDs have thrown their weight behind the API move to come up with a reliable and efficient data on their members.

Expressing support for the project was the National President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, JONAPWD, Ekaete Umoh, who expressed optimism that the project will boost lives of PWDs, and will also help them engage government constructively.

Acknowledging the importance and impact of data she said, “Data is everything, data is for planning and if we do not have accurate data about the situation of persons with disabilities, it is going to be extremely difficult to even implement the disability Act.”

In another remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, The Albino Foundation , Jake Epelle, said the data from the project will be above board and dependable and will positively impact the overwhelming population of PWDs in the country.

“We are going to lend our support to ensure that once the exercise is complete, we will push it through the various systems that we work with both national and international, so that it can be captured at the national level.

“I am hoping that the National Bureau of Statistics will team up with this process and ensure that this outcome would be used in every national discourse”, he added.

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