THE Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has urged the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, to jail corrupt government officials who steal from people with disabilities.
The association made this call Wednesday when its Public Relations Officer, Obinna Ekujereonye featured on a radio program, Public Conscience produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG.
“I‘m advocating for a jail term and I know a lot of people are advocating for it. if you leave these corrupt officials to go the way they are going, I tell you, the corruption will keep increasing by the day,” said Ekujereonye.
Speaking on an investigative report that indicted the Women Affairs and Social Development Ministry for Spending N275 Million on non-existing Rehabilitation Institutes for Persons with Disabilities, he demanded that the corrupt officials must be made to pay a high price for their corruption.
“I want the government to really look into this corruption issue. I think the government said they are fighting corruption but I don’t think they are doing their best and I don’t know if it is lip-service or they truly mean the fight against corruption.
“What the government should do is at least let us see someone who stole N1 million jailed for ten, twenty or thirty years,” he further stated.
Ekujereonye commended the federal government for the passage of the Persons with Disabilities Bill, he, however, lamented on action towards the implementation of the act.
“This bill has been part of the act and we have it in our kits but the problem remains implementation.
“If you go to public buildings, most of them don’t have lifts or parking lots for persons with disabilities. If the commission is set up fully, I think after five years they will begin to pursue and make sure this act is implemented to the latter,” Ekujereonye said.
Earlier in the programme, Peace Oriaku Ezekiel, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), regretted that the vast majority of the 25 million Nigerians with disabilities are not aware of the N275 Million swooped on rehabilitation institutes by the Women Affairs Ministry.
She stressed that PWDs suffer a great deal of injustice in employment and in several sectors due to systemic corruption.
Speaking on the efforts of the CDD, Ezekiel said, “We have a project to strengthen citizens’ resistance against the prevalence of corruption which we have run for five years, they are; Scrap-C project, and Upright for Nigeria Campaign. We have it in Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna states and in Abuja. This project helped us to build persons with disabilities on resisting corruption.”
It will be recalled that the Department of Rehabilitation was moved from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management at the inception of President Buhari’s second term in 2019.
However, the co-convener of the programme, Adaobi Obiabunmuo revealed that PRIMORG’s effort to bring both ministries to join the programme proved abortive as they never responded to their invitation during the programme and after the programme.
The ICIR investigation had revealed how the Ministry of Women Affairs spent N275 million on non-existing Rehabilitation Institutes for persons living with disabilities.
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