By Bashir Bello, KANO
The Association of Blind Persons from 19 Northern states, on Monday, pleaded with Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State to provide them with jobs so they can quit street begging.
Leader of the association, Mukhtar Saleh, made the call during its Annual General Meeting, AGM held in Kano on Monday.
Saleh said each of the local government councils (44 in Kano) should give persons with disabilities five employment slots to take them away from the streets, noting that it is not their wish to be on the streets.
According to him, “we are not happy with begging. We use this opportunity to appeal to you to provide jobs for our people, at least five, in each of the 44 local government areas.
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“There is also an allowance provided to our people in the local government areas which prevents our people from travelling to other parts of the country such as Lagos, Enugu and Anambra for street begging.
“We appeal that the allowance be reinstated. It helps our people in the home front.
“We also appeal that free education be extended our wards from primary to tertiary institution level. They should also be provided with free school uniform,” Saleh said.
Responding, Governor Ganduje said the government will look into developing a blueprint on skill acquisition to train and empower the persons and make them self reliant instead of providing them with jobs.
“I am happy that you throw your weight behind the government on ban of street begging. It is better to teach you how to catch fish than to give you fish.
“If you are given fish, when you finish eating the fish you will go back to beg. Therefore, acquiring skill acquisition is better than jobs. Because how many people can you provide jobs?
“We are directing the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to develop and design a blueprint for skill acquisition that best be inculcated in the blind that can help them become self-reliant.
“We have made education free in the state with exception with your children. Like you earlier appealed, we will also sponsor them to tertiary institution.
“But you must make sure you children go to school to become Doctors and Engineers among others.
“Plans are also on top gear to establish an agency to cater for the needs of persons living with disability.
“To that effect, a bill was sent before the state house of Assembly and we have approved it,” Governor Ganduje said.
Earlier, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Non-Governmental Organizations, Yar’dada Bichi, commended Governor Ganduje for his non-discrimination against persons living with disabilities.