As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the International Day with Persons with Disabilities, the Federal Government has assured of an increase in the recruitment quota of PWDs to 10 per cent.
Dr Samuel Ankeli, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Disability Matters, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday at the official inauguration of the Baseline Survey of PWDs.
The event was under the theme: “Empowering Persons with Disabilities and Ensuring their Inclusiveness and Equality”.
Ankeli urged PWDs to come up with a memo, while assuring that relevant actions would be taken to improve the lives of the people.
He said: “It has been observed that those who are educated enough for employment have not been given a fair share of the Federal Civil Service openings.
“It is a normal government procedure to improve policies where need be.
“It’s a policy decision and the Head of Service with her team will prepare a document for the attention of the President to see how we can do things as urgently as possible.
“This will help us to improve the recruitment quota of PWDs from the negligible two per cent to 10 per cent and provide an allowance to cushion the expenses and extra stresses of PWDs.
“I am sure that with the proper document, which is a memo to the President, the relevant actions will be taken on it to improve the lives of PWDs.’’
Also, Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Service of the Federation, said the theme was apt as it spelt out the objectives of the baseline survey of PWDs employed in the Federal Civil Service.
Oyo-Ita noted that the survey would go a long way to reassure PWDs in the service that issues of their welfare are on the front burner.
She said the survey was meant to position the officers to integrate PWDs for national development.
The Head of Service added that the project, which is a pilot project, would be conducted in the office.
According to her, the project will subsequently be extended to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the states.
She said the time is ripe to begin effective planning for the future of PWDs in the service and the ultimate goal is the development of a comprehensive policy to address the challenges.
She said: “The launch is expected to provide the aggregated data of PWDs in the civil service, in order to enable the service welfare to design a programme that tackles the challenges.
“To create more opportunities for PWDs to get into job and full range effective service, sustainable change will be realised when all concerned are empowered.
“The Federal Government is working to lessen inequality in the society; the office will also continue to provide PWDs with requirements to work effectively in a conducive environment.”
Oyo-Ita promised to work with international partners to leverage and support the efforts of the Federal Government to meet the needs of the PWDs.
In her remark, Didi Walsom-Jack, Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office, HOSF, stated that the office is set to promote a safe and convenient work environment and provide basic support for civil servants.
She said the use of the survey would help to improve inclusiveness, thereby helping to impact PWDs in the public service.
On his part, Jake Epelle, President, Albino Foundation, commended the HOSF for conducting the survey, as it had been recognised on the floor of the European Union to scale up methods to effectively impact on the lives of PWDs.
Epelle said the survey, targeted at all employees with disabilities in the federal civil service, would deploy both quantitative and qualitative processes, which would also be driven by technology.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the United Nations General Assembly in 1992 proclaimed December 3 as the annual observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons.
The aim is to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development.
The Day seeks to also increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.