A non-governmental organisation, Disability Law Advocacy Project (DLAP), has criticised the Nigerian government over its treatment of people living with disabilities in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Joshua Olatoke, the group’s project head, said in a statement issued in Ilorin Monday that the government has neglected those living with disabilities.
The group’s statement came following Sunday night’s nationwide broadcast by President Muhammadu Buhari where he ordered a lockdown of Lagos and Ogun states as well as the Federal Capital Territory.
The president also directed that a conditional cash transfer be paid immediately to the “most vulnerable in our society.”
“There was no sign language interpreter to relay the message of the president to the Hard of Hearing Persons,” said Mr Olatoke, a senior advocate of Nigeria.
“The same, therefore, translates also to the exclusion of other persons living with disabilities.
“Indeed, all the measures taken so far appear to be oblivious of the people with disabilities as no mention was made of them and no form of arrangements of palliatives made to support them at this critical moment.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Nigeria has recorded 135 cases of Coronavirus, with the number expected to rise in the coming days.
Mr Olatoke appealed to the federal and state governments to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the distribution of incentives to alleviate the effects of the lockdown.
“DLAP calls on the Federal and the State governments to ensure that PWD are not left behind in the fights against this common enemy of mankind.
“The several economic stimulus plans rolled out by the government should not be devoid of the plights of PWD. Lagos State government plans a distribution of food materials to close to 200 families, the question is to what extent PWD are covered in this scheme?
“Specific packages should be made for PWD so that their disability does not become a disadvantage at this period.”