THE Federal Government has been tasked over its decision to exclude about 12 million youths living with disabilities from national development programs.
Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), David Anyaele said that the call became pertinent as the World marks the International Day of the Youth on Wednesday.
In a statement on Tuesday, he traced the development to institutional and attitudinal barriers that have limited the participation and inclusion of youths with disabilities in social activities.
Anyaele noted that the International Youth Day was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to mark the contributions of young people in local, national, and international development.
This theme of this year’s event, ”Youth Engagement for Global Action,” highlights the ways in which the engagement of young people at the all levels would enrich national and multilateral institutions and draw lessons on how their engagement in formal institutional politics can be enhanced.
CCD congratulated youths with disabilities on this year’s celebrations, but bemoaned that the interest of these youths with were not properly protected.
The statement noted further, “we are more worried that access to education, healthcare and rehabilitation have been very slim because of non-consideration of the needs of young persons with disabilities in federal and state government budgets.
“Recognizing how the disability agenda is being handled by both state and non-state actors in Nigeria through application of charity-based approach, which is not sustainable, one wonders how the fate of the next generation of youth with disabilities in Nigeria will be.”
“CCD is concerned that the present scourge of unemployment, the growing level of poverty, the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria and the COVID-19 pandemic have adversely affected the lives and livelihood of persons with disabilities in Nigeria.”
The group called on the Federal Government to implement the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 and the National Youth Policy 2019.
Anyaele said the documents have robust provisions for youth with disabilities in the areas of employment, sport, entertainment, empowerment, and other social and political engagements.
He commended the resilience of youths with disabilities despite strong challenges, and urged them to use this day to create awareness, engage relevant authorities for adequate representation and participation in activities.