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OVERSIGHT FUNCTION: NCPWD RECEIVES HOUSE COMMITTEE ON DISABILITY, SEEKS IMPROVED FUNDING FOR INCLUSIVE PROJECTS Dr. James David Lalu, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities has called on the Federal House of Representatives’ Committee on Disabilities to employ its constitutional rights towards increasing the funding of disability projects through the various constituencies spread across the 774 local governments of Nigeria. The ES made this call today, during the familiarization visit of the House Committee to the Head office of the Commission in Abuja. In his address, Lalu reiterated that successive governments had tactically shunned disability-related matters, claiming that funding had been the major constraints. He, however, narrated the turn of events until the 18 years Bill was signed into law in 2019 by former President Muhammadu Buhari which eventually led to the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities. "I am equally excited to inform this meeting that his Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his Renewed Hope Agenda has also taken the lead further by signing the African Protocol on Human rights and the rights of Persons with Disabilities into law in October, 2023" he added. The ES, as well, underpinned that the enormity of interventions needed in the disability community is so huge that it requires all hands to be on deck. He further gave an overview of the achievements of the Commission since inception and pointed out the significance of building a model of universal accessibility facility at the Headquarters of the Commission. The Commission's Boss, similarly, mentioned that the International labor Organization (ILO) in 2016 reported that 43.3% of the youths in Nigeria are unemployed, laying emphasis on the minimum 5% employment quota for Persons with disabilities in all MDAs. He, therefore, called on relevant Agencies in Nigeria to get prepared for the public hearing before the final ratification of Accessibility Standard Code launch. On the other hand, the Chairman House Committee on disabilities, Hon. Dr. Bashir Daodu alluded to the importance of increased funding for disability inclusive projects across the country. Daodu cited section 4 of the Nigerian constitution which dwells on the oversight functions of the legislature on various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government, ensuring their compliance with their mandates. He further informed that the legislative Arm of government will partner with the Commission to ensure full enforcement of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities, 2018 (prohibition) Act. "’We will stand with you to make Nigeria a better place for all" he assured. A member representing the Ahiazu/ Ezinihitte Federal Constituency of Imo state, Hon. Emeka Chinedu also affirmed that the overwhelming population of persons with disabilities in Nigeria requires adequate funding. He, therefore, advocated for the establishment of a Disability Trust Fund which he said will help cater for over 35 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria. Mbanefo JohnMichaels Ikechukwu Head Press and Public Relations Unit, NCPWD 26th February, 2024