Saturday, 25 May 2024.

Top 5 This Week

Related News

We’ve been abandoned since Betta Edu’s suspension – PWDs

The Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) have called on President Bola Tinubu to reinstate Dr Betta Edu who was suspended over four months ago (8th January 2024), as Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs & Poverty Alleviation.

This was disclosed in a press release signed by Job Napoleon Agbor, Convener of Pioneers of Nigeria’s National and International Disability Civil Rights Movement & Policy Changers, and Critical Stakeholders/Members of APC, Etomi Ward in Etung LGA of Cross River State, on 23rd May 2024, in Calabar, Cross River State.

According to the PWDs, the vacant seat in the Ministry has left them with emptiness as no one has been attending to their needs since Edu was suspended.

The press statement titled ‘President Tinubu’s First Anniversary & Legacy Achievements: The Contributions and Impact of Hon. Dr Betta Edu’s Initiatives for People with Disabilities in Nigeria’, listed the achievements of the suspended Minister and her contribution to President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

The press statement read in full:

“On the occasion of President Tinubu’s first anniversary in office on the 29th of May 2024, it is essential to in advance, start highlighting the significant contributions and impactful legacy achievements and projects, programmes, and services spearheaded by Hon. Dr Betta Edu, on how her honest efforts would have started making huge and substantial differences in the lives of over 35.5 million Nigerians with Disabilities, including the Almajiris, First Responders, wounded Military personnel, Police, DSS, EFCC, ICPC, Civil Defense, Customs, and other law enforcement officers, as well as our family members and Nigeria in general, aligning with and enhancing the administration’s overall achievements.

We've been abandoned since Betta Edu's suspension - PWDs
Honourable Dr Betta Edu with the lived BoT Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria, Ms Omotunde Ellen Thompson, Chairperson BoT JONAPWD-National (aka Godmother of Disability Civil Rights Movement and Barrier Breaker in Nigeria) in Adadama Community in Abi LGA of CRS during Honourable Dr Betta’s Reception by her Community

Hon. Dr Betta Edu’s planned initiatives in collaboration with us; Pioneers of Nigeria’s National and International Disability Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers would have been pivotal in driving progress, peace, and unity, and also in delivering tangible benefits for our Centuries of neglected or ignored and marginalised Nigerians with Disability Community, showcasing the administration’s commitment to inclusivity and empowerment. Her onset Disability-Inclusive and Accessible dedication and leadership in this sector are exemplary, marking a notable milestone in President Tinubu’s first year in office.

29th May 2024 will mark President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s first anniversary in office. Therefore as one of the long-standing members of the APC, who is a critical Stakeholder, hailing from Etomi Ward in Etung LGA of Cross River State, Nigeria, and the Convener of Pioneers of Nigeria’s national and international disability Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers, in celebration of President Tinubu’s first anniversary, I move to present for inclusion officially, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, at Risk Programmes under the Suspended Hon Dr Betta Edu’s great historical achievements and legacies made for Nigeria, APC, President Tinubu and his Administration, especially for our more than 35.5 million Nigerians with Disabilities, including the Almajiris, First Responders, wounded Military personnel, Police, DSS, EFCC, ICPC, Civil Defense, Customs, and other law enforcement officers, as well as our family members and the entire 36 States/FCT and 774 LGAs of Nigeria in collaborations with us.

For over 30 years, the history of Nigerians with Disabilities, beginning from the era of Late General Sani Abacha (November 17, 1993 – June 8, 1998), through General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s (Rtd) tenure (1998-1999), and continuing through the democratic eras under former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari, and now President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has seen a lack of comprehensive understanding and implementation of the United Nations International Treaties and domestication of National Disabilities Rights Laws. This ignoramus extended to the numerous ministers overseeing the old Ministry of Sports and Social Development, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, and the current Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

We've been abandoned since Betta Edu's suspension - PWDs
Hajia Zaliha Sanusi Yusuf, National Programme Manager of At-Risk Children, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Miss Omotunde Ellen Thompson, Chairperson, JONAPWD-National, Job Napoleon Agbor, Convener, Nigeria’s National and International, Disability Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers during the development of the At-Risk Programmes Strategic Plan at Abuja, FCT

Until the appointment of the Suspended Honourable Dr Betta Edu by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, none of the former ministers effectively addressed the needs of Nigerians with Disabilities as mandated by the UN Charter and its Treaties agreement signed and ratified by Nigeria. Their failures largely stemmed from the lack of professional qualifications in clinical social work, health services, medical practice, clinical psychology, or psychiatry fields needed for the success of understanding a huge constituency of more than 35.5 million Nigerians with Disabilities, including the Almajiris, First Responders, wounded Military personnel, Police, DSS, EFCC, ICPC, Civil Defense, Customs, and other law enforcement officers, as well as our family members in which Dr Edu is professionally trained and licensed, enabling her to quickly understand us Pioneers of Nigeria’s national and International Disability Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers and serve the needs of our fellow persons with disabilities effectively. We thank President Tinubu for observing and recognising those bad systems and correcting them by appointing real licensed professionals as ministers throughout all his Ministries, including a Medical Doctor Honourable Betta Edu as the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

The United Nations DESA’s valid archived records revealed that on December 13, 2006, United Nations Member States, including Nigeria adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Nigeria signed this Convention and its accompanying Optional Protocol on March 30, 2007, and on September 24, 2010, ratified them, under the UN Charter and its Treaty Agreement, which Nigeria had signed and ratified on October 7, 1960. This international legacy achievement was successfully advocated for and negotiated with both Nigeria’s legislative and executive branches by pioneers of Nigeria’s national and international Disability Civil Rights Movement and policy changes, championed by Miss Omotunde Ellen Thompson, BoT Chairperson of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities of Nigeria (JONAPWD-National), and Chief Eric Ndubueze Ufom, President/CEO of Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc. (ERPWDI), based in Houston, Texas, USA, among others.

We've been abandoned since Betta Edu's suspension - PWDs
Ms Omotunde Ellen Thompson, JONAPWD-National, BoT Chairperson, and others during Dr Betta Edu’s Reception in Adadama Community in Abi LGA of CRS

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) which was adopted on December 13, 2006, mandates Member States, including the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Article 4 and specifically Article 4.3, that “In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organisations.” This article enshrines the principle “Nothing About Us Without Us,” requiring that UN Member States, including Nigeria, should closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities in legislative and policy-making processes.

Regrettably, previous legislative and executive branches of the Nigerian government, especially the numerous ministers overseeing the old Ministry of Sports and Social Development, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, and the current Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, have knowingly failed to fulfil Nigeria’s obligation to fully implement this critical United Nations Human Rights Treaty of the 21st Century as mandated by the UN Charter and its Treaty Agreement. This neglect continued until the present administration of President Tinubu, through the efforts of the suspended Honourable Dr Betta Edu. The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation At-Risk Children Strategic Plan developed by us in collaboration with the At-Risk Children Department is well-documented, valid, and verifiable evidence. It proves beyond reasonable doubt how in Nigeria’s history, Honourable Dr Betta Edu stands out, as the only former and current Nigerian Minister who has strived to dismantle the systemic and man-made barriers hindering the country’s truthful implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), especially Article 4.3 and its domesticated National Nigerians with Disabilities Act, 2018 and
States Laws.

We've been abandoned since Betta Edu's suspension - PWDs
Honourable Dr Betta Edu giving passionate humanitarian expert care to a traumatised – Risk Child to prevent the future development of one of its late PTSD effects, which is a major cause of Insecurity, Terrorism, Kidnapping, Bandits, Irreconcilable Community Disputes, illegal mining, food insecurity, toxic, stressful, traumatic a deadly environment in Nigeria

Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, At Risk Children Department, under the suspended Hon Dr Betta Edu, in collaboration with us is planning to start collecting, documenting, and archiving the APC and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s great Historical achievements and legacies made in correcting and amending all mistakes made by both the Legislative and Executive Branches of Government on Nigeria’s Disability Policy Changers in a future Presidential Library and Disability Museum to be built at Abuja, Lagos and Katsina, et al…

Under the suspended Hon. Dr Betta Edu, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation’s At Risk Programme aimed to collaborate with pioneers of Nigeria’s national and international Disability Civil Rights Movement and policy changers. This initiative, led by the JONAPWD-National BoT Chairperson and Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc. (ERPWDI), sought to establish a modern, disability-inclusive model based on the “New Rural Development Paradigm and the Inclusive and Sustainable New Communities Model” inspired by the Saemaul Undong of the Republic of Korea. The programme was designed to provide multiple grassroots, community-based services, including vocational rehabilitation, job training and placement, self-employment opportunities, and entrepreneurship support for an inclusive society. Additionally, it planned to set up multi-disciplinary post-polio clinics and wellness centres for diagnosing and managing post-polio syndrome, spinal cord injuries, and respiratory treatments in Abuja and each of Nigeria’s six geographical regions. This comprehensive initiative aimed to support over 35.5 million Nigerians with disabilities, including Almajiris, first responders, and wounded military and law enforcement personnel and their families.

We've been abandoned since Betta Edu's suspension - PWDs
Chief Eric Ndubueze Ufom, President/CEO of Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities International, Inc. (ERPWDI) (aka Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Initiative) one of the leaders of Pioneers of Nigeria’s National and International Disability Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers

The At-Risk Children Programme in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation under Dr Edu’s suspended leadership, planned to offer a wide range of services in collaboration with pioneers of Nigeria’s National and International Disability Civil Rights Movement and policy changers. These legacy programmes aimed to build confidence, foster independence, and achieve employment for 35.5 million Nigerians with disabilities, including Almajiris, first responders, wounded military personnel, and law enforcement officers. The customised programmes included:

1. Life Adjustment, 2. Academic Services, 3. Vocational Evaluation, 4. Health Management, 5. Employment Evaluation, 6. Education, 7. Work Preparation Experiences, Readiness, and Skills Training, 8. Transitional Living and Rehabilitation Services, 9. Counselling & Case Management, 10. Therapeutic Recreation & Fitness, 11. Behavioral Services, 12. Residential Services, 13. Nutritional Services, 14. Job Placements. These services were to be provided in residential and non-residential environments, emphasising community-based vocational rehabilitation and independent living skills.

READ ALSO:

Honourable Dr Betta Edu, an internationally renowned Physician Scientist, and Humanitarian, uniquely understood the humanitarian, disability, social, health, legal, and human rights needs of Nigerians with disabilities. She effectively utilised her healthcare and humanitarian skills to begin addressing the issues inherited from previous administrations by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

Dr Edu, in collaboration with pioneers of Nigeria’s National and International Disability Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers, initiated plans for the Grassroots Community-Based Institute for Rehabilitation & Centers for Independent Living to help HE President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda in no small measure attain the mandates set by Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 2030 Agenda’s “No One Left Behind,”, which deals directly with Humanitarian and Poverty alleviation.

We've been abandoned since Betta Edu's suspension - PWDs
Miss Omotunde Ellen Thompson, Chairperson, JONAPWD-National, Brig General Adeoye, President/CEO of Foundation for the Support Nigerian Wounded Veterans, Job Napoleon Agbor, Convener and other Members of the Pioneers of Nigeria’s National and International Disabilities Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja

Objectives of the Legacy Project:

Community-based STEM-Education, Arts, and Culture (STEAC-Education), Entrepreneurship, Blockchain Architecture, Coding, and Robotics, which will start from Kindergarten to Secondary Schools through the At-Risk Children Programme. These strategic plans prioritised disability inclusion and highlighted the commitment of all programmes under the National Social Investment to serve individuals with disabilities. Those At-Risk Children, especially the Almajiris, as experts in education, coding, robotics, etc…, it is doable they can successfully build Drums, especially with night infrared lights with sensors for use at night by our law enforcement agents in searching, detecting, and finding Locations of Terrorists and finding and rescuing kidnapped victims on time. It is also doable that they will be capable of building 100% made-in-Nigeria satellites and send to space Develop/upgrade programmes or projects for Grassroots, Community-Based Institute for Rehabilitation, and Centers for Independent Living, including for Nigerians with Disabilities and homeless Street Beggars.

Peacefully take those traumatised people with disabilities who parade the streets of Abuja and other major cities of Nigeria, off the streets as beggars and street traders, into where they can start going through rehabilitation, vocational job training, placements centres, institutes, medical treatments, psychosocial counselling, leadership pieces of training, capacity buildings, empowerment programmes, Centres for Independent Livings and others. Training in Agriculture, including paltry, fishery, cattle, goat rearing, and other agro-allied
projects.

Training on machine tools and die-making, wheelchairs, and other medical equipment for Polio, stroke, spinal cord injuries and accidents, and other Survivors.

Training on how to work for the oil and gas and other mineral industries.

In collaboration with the At-Risk Children Programmes, in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, under Dr Betta’s leadership, we proposed and initiated an Annual Disability & Women Inclusive Peacebuilding event scheduled for February 29, 2024. Unfortunately, due to her suspension, this event could not take place.

Mr President, based on our extensive experience and the performance of past ministers, none have matched Honourable Dr Betta Edu’s qualifications and international collaborations as a trained medical doctor, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, and expert in clinical healthcare. She is a Physician Scientist and Humanitarian par excellence, committed, competent, and understanding of our complex disability issues, including social, healthcare, equal rights to justice, and constitutional needs.

Dr Edu’s vast public healthcare and medical knowledge enabled her to navigate and start addressing the problems faced by over 35.5 million Nigerians with disabilities. This includes the Almajiris, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), first responders, wounded military veterans, police, ICPC, EFCC, DSS, Civil Defense, Customs, and other law enforcement officers under our care. Her profound understanding of Nigerians with disabilities, their families, and communities set her apart.

Under Dr Edu’s leadership, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation initiated pioneering, disability-inclusive grassroots programmes with enduring impacts on Nigerians, transcending President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s administration. One significant initiative was allocating 10% of all intervention programmes to persons with disabilities, significantly enhancing the budget for the Commission for Disabled Persons in Nigeria. She also spearheaded the establishment of 40 modern toilet units for the Alheri Leprosy Colony in Yangoji Kwali Area Council, Abuja.

Through collaborative efforts with the Federal Government, state entities, and UNICEF, Dr Betta Edu’s ministry played a crucial role in establishing transit schools for 11,000 out-of-school displaced children in Niger State. These achievements underscore Dr Edu’s unwavering dedication to improving the lives of Nigerians, especially those marginalised by disabilities, and her invaluable contributions to inclusive governance.

Our flagship initiative, the Nigeria Women and Disability Inclusive Peacebuilding Summit scheduled for March 2024, was unfortunately put on hold due to Dr Edu’s suspension.

Similarly, our upcoming Inaugural Annual Peacebuilding Summit and Ambassadors of Peace Awards Ceremony in May 2024, which aims to emphasise disability and women’s inclusion in Nigeria’s digital economic development, is also on hold.

Under Dr Betta Edu’s leadership, a significant movement began, aimed at resolving decades-long disputes among Nigerians with disabilities in Nigeria and Cross River State in particular. This initiative followed a welcome and thanksgiving event held for her on December 30, 2023, in her village in Cross River State (CRS). The disability community in CRS had been mired in conflicts that even the state’s Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development, through its Department of Rehabilitation, failed to address effectively. Instead of seeking realistic solutions, the Ministry sided with faction leaders, resulting in numerous court litigations and the eventual death of the state Chairman of the association, Hon. Livinus Okpa.

The arrival of Miss Omotunde Ellen Thompson, the Lived BoT Chairperson of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD-National), in Calabar for the thanksgiving ceremony of Dr Betta Edu, marked a turning point. On 3rd January 2024, Miss Thompson, leveraging her position as Lived BoT Chairperson of JONAPWD-Nigeria, called for a congress meeting. This meeting led to the dissolution of the embattled election committee, perpetuating the crisis in the CRS chapter of JONAPWD.

Despite resistance from those benefiting from the ongoing crisis, this move was crucial in initiating steps towards lasting peace in the Cross River State chapter. With the annulment and reconstitution of the election committees, and support from the wife of the CRS Governor, a new election committee was established. This led to the successful, uninterrupted election of a new executive council for the CRS Chapter of JONAPWD on 3rd March 2024, headed by Prince Ekpeyong Essien governed by the 2008 JONAPWD Constitution that registers the association with CAC.

By the initiation of this long-awaited peace in the CRS Chapter of JONAPWD a holistic reform of the JONAPWD Nigeria started from Cross River State.

In conclusion, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s first anniversary in office is a pivotal moment to recognise the substantial contributions of Hon. Dr Betta Edu. Her dedication and initiatives have begun to transform the lives of over 35.5 million Nigerians with disabilities, including Almajiris, first responders, wounded military personnel, and various law enforcement officers. Dr Edu’s efforts, in collaboration with pioneers of Nigeria’s National and International Disability Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers, mark a significant step toward inclusivity and empowerment within President Tinubu’s administration.

Dr Edu’s initiatives, particularly the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation’s At-Risk Programme, have been instrumental in addressing systemic neglect and creating comprehensive support systems for marginalised communities, hence nibbling insecurity such as kidnapping, terrorism, communal land dispute, and other social vices that characterised our nation today.

Dr Edu’s background in clinical healthcare and humanitarian work has uniquely positioned her to understand and address the complex needs of Nigerians with disabilities.

Through her strategic plans of community-based vocational rehabilitation, job training, self-employment opportunities, and wellness centres, Dr Edu has laid the foundation for sustainable development and empowerment. Her commitment to inclusivity is further exemplified by her efforts to resolve long-standing conflicts within the disability community and promote peacebuilding initiatives.

Despite her suspension, Dr Edu’s legacy continues to impact the administration’s achievements, showcasing a commitment to inclusivity, empowerment, and the holistic development of Nigeria’s most vulnerable populations. Her vision and actions align with the Disability-Inclusive Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the principle of “Nothing About Us Without Us,” ensuring that the voices and needs of persons with disabilities are integral to national policy and development.

For more information, please contact:

Job Napoleon Agbor, ACFE, B.Sc., M.Sc., MBA, (aka Hurricane), Critical Stakeholder/Members of APC (Etomi ward in Etung LGA of Cross River State, Nigeria):
Convener: Pioneers of National & International Civil Rights Movement and Policy Changers in Nigeria Phone: +234 (705) 844-7521, Email: jobnsoragbor53@gmail.com.”

Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom
Frank Ulom is an experienced Journalist, Blogger and Writer with several years of experience. His stories are based on community development and have brought positive change across board.

Latest News