By Ignatius Ushie
A non-governmental organization, Poverty and Disability Initiative in Nigeria, (PADIN) has lamented the increased rate of poverty among people living with disability in Nigeria adding that PADIN will do everything at its disposal to improve their standard of living.
The president and founder of the NGO, Olatunji Oladaya Lincoln stated this while speaking to reporters recently on the occasion of the distribution of crutches to people living with disability at the Disable colony, Karumajigi in FCT Abuja.
Oladaya maintained that there has been a lot of talk about taking care of the disabled once in Nigeria but nothing much has been done by the government to alleviate the suffering of these persons, adding that their organization in collaborated with their partner, NCGI to deliver crutches to them, with the promise to make more deliveries in the nearest future.
According to him, “I was born as a person with a disability, and if you look at over thirty million Nigerians that are persons with disabilities, we need people to fill the gap for them. The rate of poverty increases within the range of these persons within the disabled community is very high and alarming. Thank God I had the privilege to have gone to school, he said.
Earlier, Mr. Taiwo Ibukun Oluwa Okpeyo, a volunteer from New Chance Global Initiative Nigeria,(NCGI) said, “Today we are partnering with PADIN to distribute crutches for disabled people here. Our main aim and objective is to help people living with disability by giving them crutches, walking aides, and wheelchairs, and again we cater for elderly persons in our society. Most people have one form of deformity or the other.
Responding to the choice of Karumajigi, the project Director of PADIN, Christina Obinna Okafor explained-“We discovered that this Karumajigi is actually the disability colony in Abuja. This is where you have the majority of people living with disability are residing. So rather than going about seeking disabled people on the street we felt it is better we come here.
“When we spoke to the chief, there is actually somebody who is the leader of the people living with disability here which makes it easier to reach out to all manner of people living with disability, because they have them on record. Like you have seen they actually have the list.”
She explained further that the joy they see on the faces of the recipients is what motivates them to want to do more, “As you saw on the NCJI T-shirt, we are sharing love, we are sharing passion, and we are sharing joy.”
The Country Director of PADIN in Nigeria, Paul Mubuchi Ogbonna on his own part stressed that the job of trying to alleviate the suffering of the people living with a disability does not end at sharing crutches.
According to him, “As a matter of fact, we are going to be bringing a lot of things on the table like entrepreneurship. We are going to bring such thing to the table to make them understand that they can be more useful to themselves in spite of their disability.”
About 360 clutches were distributed to the persons living with disability at Karumajigi colony.