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90% Of Children With Disabilities Have No Access To Basic Education – Dame Tallen

The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, has revealed that 25 Million Nigerians have one form of disabilities or another, adding that more than 50% of the 25 Million Nigerians are females with only 5% of these number are literate and more than 90% of children with disabilities have no access to elementary schooling.

The Honourable Minister disclosed this on Thursday, 25th August, 2022 in Abuja at the National Conference of Women with Disabilities with the theme, “Violence Against Women with Disabilities is a violence Against All Women”. The Conference was organised by Advocacy for Women Disabilities Initiative (AWDI) in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA) and other partners.

Emphasizing that there should be behavioural and attitudinal change towards people with disabilities, Dame Tallen described the theme of the Conference as apt, saying that it affords participants the opportunity to reflect and raise consciousness on the plights of women and girls living with disabilities who most times fall victim of violence.

The Minister advised that programmes organised for People living with disabilities (PLWD) should be done with the inputs of women and girls living with disabilities.

While pointing out that the Government through FMWA has taken some steps to address the needs of PLWD which includes; the ratification of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Acts, 2018 and Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015, Pauline revealed that 31 States of the Federation have domesticated the laws to safeguard the rights of persons including the persons with disabilities to varying degrees of implementations.

The Honourable Minister who was represented the by the Ministry’s Deputy Director, (Women Development), Christiana Oliko, stressed that COVID-19 pandemic seriously upended the progress which equally exposed existing inequalities against PLWDs and a rise in new threats.

“Women with disabilities are three-times experiencing physical, sexual and economic abuse than women without disabilities.

“They persistently face stigma, discriminations and barriers to accessing social services including public transports and social safety-nets. Today, they face greater barriers brought about by the impact of the COVID-19”, she claimed.

The convening organization, Advocacy For Women Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI) headed by its Executive Director, Patience Ogolo Dickson while x-raying the objectives of the gathering, said that the nature of violence confronting PLWDs are different as there are intersections between gender and violence including the new parlance, Disabilities-Based-Violence (DBV).

According to her, studies have shown that PLWDs experience sexual, psychological, physical and emotional violence. Ogolo asserted that as those without disabilities choose their medical preferences, PLWDs should have rights to freely choose also.

Meanwhile, The UN Women Country Representative in Nigeria, Beatrice Eyong, who advocated that data collection for women who have experienced violence should be collated, further said that programmes on disabilities should be done intentionally to feature PLWDs’ activities in different platforms, in order to give their cause visibility and publicity.

The high point of the event was the “Technical Session” involving panel discussion moderated by Olanike Akinbola from NCPWD. This was followed by question-and-answer session with a “Communiqué” issued afterward.

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