…reiterates call for disability commission

Barr Melody Omosah, convener, Edo Disability Forum (EDF), fielding questions from journalists at a press conference in Benin City last Thursday, noted that following the removal of petroleum subsidy by the Federal Government, Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) under the aegis of Edo Disability Forum (EDF) have raised an alarm over economic hardship currently faced by vulnerable groups in the state.

The forum, in the press conference noted that, from a recent survey conducted across the three senatorial districts, findings showed that PWDs are severely affected by the subsidy removal.

According the convener, the removal has resulted in some people living with disabilities to contemplate suicide as they can not cater for themselves and families hence the need to enjoin policy makers and other stakeholders to collectively act so that no one will be left behind in the post subsidy regime.

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“Persons with disabilities do no longer eat even twice a day; a number of them skip meals just for their children to eat,” Omosah lamented.

Omosah, who commended Governor Godwin Obaseki for “genuine interests” in the welfare of PWDs, reiterated calls for sustainable solutions, especially in setting up of a disability commission, strengthening of existing laws as well as ensure their representation in decision making at the highest level of government, among others for inclusive and resilient Edo society.

“Currently, the estimated 675,000 PWDs in Edo State (2019 data), are groaning under the weight of the removal of subsidy on fuel by the Nigerian government, as no functional social protection mechanism has been specifically put in place to ensure their survival. Sadly, this has further increased their vulnerability, leading to an endless cycle of poverty and disability,” he said

The disability forum comprises of various disability cluster groups, with an agenda to engage the state government to put in place functional social protection mechanism in the aftermath of the subsidy removal.