By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
Mr James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) has knocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its top candidates, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, for not caring for persons with disabilities (PWDs)
Lalu stated this at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.
Lalu said Abubakar was a Vice President under the PDP for eight years, yet he made no impact on the lives of PWDs.
“During the first and second terms of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the PDP, the disability community struggled, even when the bill was passed by the National Assembly, Atiku and PDP did not sign it into law.
“I can still remember when the disability community went out to protest and called the attention of the then government, the only result we got was that we were tear-gased.
“We also want to remind Governor of Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, that the disability law had not been passed or signed in Delta.
“Also to Aminu Tambulwal, the law was passed in Sokoto State, but he is yet to sign and implement it.
“We want to call the attention of the PDP’s Presidential candidate for the 2023 election to focus his energy on calling on the Governor of Adamawa to sign the disability bill into law.
“Many states controlled by PDP are yet to domesticate the disability law. The disability community now knows the people that know the road and favour them,” Lalu said.
He also said that states like Plateau, Lagos, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Kogi, Jigawa and many others, controlled by APC have gone far in the care and laws for PWDs.
The NCPWD boss said the inauguration of PWDs campaign team for PDP was nothing to write home about if PDP in their time failed to sign the bill into law as PDP controlled states were not ready to care for PWDs.
“We will always appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari. He is the best friend of disability community and PWDs.
“When he came to power, he was able to listen to the cries of PWDs. In 2014 in Lafia, Buhari during his campaign, promised to sign the disability bill into law.
“On Jan. 17, 2019, Buhari signed the Discrimination Against PWDs Prohibition Act. He went ahead, and on Aug. 17, he approved my appointment and that of the Governing Board.
“That marks the beginning of the NCPWDs and here we are. This testifies that Buhari has since commenced the implementation of the Act, something Alhaji Atiku and PDP could not do,” Lalu said.
He said the commission was in collaboration with tertiary institutions in Sokoto, Zaria and llorin to impact on lives of PWDs.
The NCPWD boss also stated that in no distant time, PWDs would be granted scholarships to study programmes of their choice in different tertiary institutions in Nigeria and other countries of the world.
He added that the commission and the Independent National Electoral Commission were in partnership concerning PWDs on voters registration and voting pattern at polling units.
Lalu also stressed that Disability Desks had been established in all commands of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, adding that the commission also put in place strategies to help PWDs in all Police stations across the country.
“So, we are doing a lot, but we are not happy when we see politicians making bad comments and trying to condemn the government of Buhari that has done so much for us in Nigeria.
“As far as disability community is concerned, Buhari is the best president in the history of the country. He has set a standard and the next government would have to maintain and improve upon it.
“Ordinarily, this should not have attracted our response, but it is very important for us to put the record straight so that every Nigerian would know the truth and the Buhari’s achievements for PWDs,” Lalu said.