COVID-19 Lockdown: We Are at Risk in Adamawa, Disabled Persons Tell Gov. Fintiri

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West African Pilot News

Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD) in Adamawa have raised an alarm that they are at risk of avoidable health crises and needless deaths as the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic worsens the livelihoods and survival of PLWDs. The group expressed concern that many persons living with disabilities may never benefit from the free food stimulus program introduced by the state government if Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri fails to co-opt disabled person clusters and Civil Society Organizations

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Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD) in Adamawa have raised an alarm that they are at risk of avoidable health crises and needless deaths as the lockdown occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic worsens the livelihoods and survival of PLWDs.

The group expressed concern that many persons living with disabilities may never benefit from the free food stimulus program introduced by the state government if Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri fails to co-opt disabled person clusters and Civil Society Organizations as monitors in the palliative distribution process.

Speaking to newsmen at their training centre in Jimeta-Yola, leaders of the group regrets that the lockdown been imposed without palliatives puts disabled persons at risk in the state.

Adamawa State Secretary of Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWDs) Comrade Abubaka Hosere (Pilot News File Photo)
Comrade Abubakar Hosere, the state Secretary of Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWDs) said that “we are deeply worried about a recent revelation that some elements have hijacked the free food program initiated by the state, and the severe consequences this sabotage will bring to persons with special needs in the state.”

Hosere raised concerns that a lot of persons with disabilities in the state are yet to receive the food package promised them barely ten days after the promise was made.

‘’People living with disabilities are caged and now languishing without any palliative; we have over 20,000 members in the state and it seems nothing is being done to assist us in this trial moment.

‘’ This is why we called for this press briefing to intimate the world on our plight here in Adamawa,’’ Hosere said.

Also corroborating the state Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the group Mr. Bitrus Richard urged the state government to provide each cluster of persons with special needs with the logistics to distribute the stimulus package to their members since each of the clusters (Blind, Deaf, Albinos, Physical, etc) has a register of their members.

‘’ This response strategy, if considered by His Excellency, will have a far-reaching positive impact on disabled persons in the state in the long run.

“We were shocked that the government helps other vulnerable groups like Keke-Napep riders but excluding people with disabilities,” he said.

Also lamenting, Alhassan Ibrahim Ganye the National Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the group decried that as the cases of COVID-19 increase in Nigeria, and with the Federal and state governments, relevant agencies, corporate organizations and individuals contributing their quota to curb the spread, the people living with disabilities seem to be ignored by all.

National Public Relation Officer (PRO) of Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (JONAPWDs) Alhaji Ibrahim Ganye (Photo by Pilot News)
‘’it appears people living with disabilities in Nigeria are left on their own; we are yet to see any palliative by either state or local governments and even individual and corporate organizations.

‘’Look, even the National Orientation Agency (NOA) is not doing anything to sensitize our people.

‘’It is obvious nobody cares about us; instead, some of our people are being further discriminated against by several Nigerians, who see them as plagues. This is not fair, because in a time like this, with the lockdown across Nigeria, the people living with disabilities will be worst hit, but we are treated as if we caused our disability ourselves,” he fumes.

In the meantime, efforts The West African Pilot News to speak to officials of the state emergency agency and that of the state COVID-19 Containment Committee being headed by the secretary to the state government Engr. Bashir Ahmed has been futile.