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LOCAL MANUFACTURING OF ASSISTIVE DEVICES WILL ALLEVIATE THE BURDENS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN NIGERIA"– LALU

"LOCAL MANUFACTURING OF ASSISTIVE DEVICES WILL ALLEVIATE THE BURDENS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN NIGERIA"– LALU Despite the rising inflation and economic downturn prevalent in Nigeria, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Dr. James David Lalu has said that the production of Assistive devices for Persons with Disabilities will provide tremendous relief to the disability community in Nigeria. The ES made this assertion during an audience with a delegation of CBM Global Disability Inclusion, (a world leader in global disability inclusion, transforming the lives of persons with disabilities and living in poverty) recently in Abuja. Further in his remarks, Lalu informed the meeting that persons with disabilities are facing trying times due to the current harsh economy orchestrated by inflationary rates in the country. "It will surprise you to know that the Braille machine which used to sell for N300,000 is now sold for about 3 million naira, implying that only a few persons would be able to afford it" he pointed out. He stated that the situation has inspired the Commission to take further steps to meet with the relevant authorities in order to revive the braille centers across various States of the Federation. Lalu also used the medium to explain the economic gains that will accrue on the Nation’s GDP once the Commission and Partners start the production of Assistive devices in the country. "The project is one that is capable of serving as a foreign exchange earner to boost the Nigerian economy" He disclosed. He further divulged that Nigeria is planning to host the African Disability summit where over 50 countries are expected to converge to deliberate on disability inclusivity. “Leadership transition is very key, and to further enhance the "Renewed Hope Agenda" of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Nigeria will showcase the strategic approach as applied so far towards achieving disability inclusivity in all fronts" he underscored. Lalu, however, hinted that the Commission is working closely with various Universities in Nigeria to develop Sign language in different Nigerian dialects to enhance and build the students’ capacities for seamless communications. He also revealed that Federal University Lafia, Nasarawa State University, Usman Dan Fodio University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University and University of Ilorin have all consented to the award of Degrees in Sign Language studies. Obviously impressed by the Executive Secretary's presentation, the Interim Country Director CBM Global, Anita Smeets who stated that their mission was to have a one -on- one experience with the Commission which is the government Agency responsible for advancing the Education, Health and the overall well- being of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria, commended the ES for being so proactive to the emerging trends in the disability inclusive initiatives. She, therefore, pledged to continually work hand in hand with the Commission towards achieving its mandate for the welfare of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria and also appreciated the ES for appearing and making valid contributions on the panel of the advisory CBM Board of Directors. In the same vein, the Executive Director, CBM Global, Mr. Davis Bainbridge expressed his satisfaction at the antecedents of the Commission and promised robust assistance for the attainment of inclusivity. Mbanefo JohnMichaels I Head Press and PR Unit, NCPWD 14th February, 2024