The characteristics of people living with disabilities will be collected in census 2016 unlike previous censuses which isolated them, Mr Eze Duruiheoma, Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), has said.
Duruiheoma stated this on Wednesday at a stakeholders’ forum organised by Centre for Citizens with Disability (CCD) to commemorate the 2015 International Disability Day.
Theme of the day is ``Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment of People of All Abilities.’’
The UN General Assembly, in 1992, set aside December 3 of every year as international day of people living with disabilities.
Represented by Dr Samson Olanipekun, a Director in the commission, Duruiheoma also said that the NPC had embarked on review of the 2004 population policy to accommodate current realities.
According to him, this becomes imperative following changes in the nation’s demographic profile.
``The review is to assess the performance of the progammes outlined in the policy and also to respond to emerging national and international issues in population and development.
`` I crave the indulgence of the Centre for Citizens with Disability and Nigeria Disability Forum to partner with the commission in the review of this policy document.
``This to fill those gaps created by emerging issues that currently confront people living with disabilities in Nigeria’’, he said.
He stressed the need for appropriate measures, facilities and legislation to enhance the welfare of people living with disabilities.
``In a national baseline survey of People With Disability (PWD), conducted by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in 2011, the population of Nigerians living with disability is 4.8 million.
``The World Health Organisation (WHO) on the other hand estimated that there are approximately 19 million disabled people living in Nigeria’’, he said.
Earlier, Mr David Anyaele, the Executive Director, CCD, expressed disappointment that people with disabilities were ``nominally included’’ in previous censuses.
``We are worried that that data capturing tools of the previous population census lacked disability disaggregation data’’, he said.
According to him, data is critical for planning and development hence any form of exclusion of Nigerians with disabilities in future population census will impede development.
Mr Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, assured that people with disabilities would be included in the policies and programmes of the current administration.
``The issue of disability comes under inclusive government of the present administration. All kinds of people with disabilities are being considered by the federal government’’, he said.
The SGF, represented by a Permanent Secretary in his office, Dr Roy Ugo, said, ``nobody is going to be left behind because of disability.
Also, the Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury, said there was need to give people with disabilities equal access as denying them was a violation of their rights.
Suomela-Chowdhury said that while their achievements should be recognised, they should be encouraged to realise their full potentials.