One of the cardinal pro-people policies of President Muhammadu Buhari is drawing flaks from within his followers. His Senior Special Assistant on Disabilities, Dr. Samuel Ankeli, is not satisfied that.persons with disabilitiy were not adequately covered in the disbursement of five thousand Naira monthly stipend.
He has taken his complaints to party leader, Dr. John Odigie-Oyegun, where he briefed him of the discontent of the special persons.
Stepping out of the meeting with Oyegun, he told journalists that while he was sympathetic to the cause of the disabled, he would not tolerate their being a nuisance on the streets of the Federal Capital Territory.
Years after the departure of former Federal Capital Territory Minister and sitting Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el Rufai, the menace of street begging, especially by the disabled has remained intractable and is begging for a creative solution.
They are found on many street corners, especially in satellite towns where they obstruct traffic. el Rufai’s man Friday to curb their activities was Hajia Hadiza Abdulahi who later became a commissioner in Niger State.
But Ankeli said yesterday in Abuja: “The law does not discriminate against ability or disability. I will not support lawlessness and at the same time, I will not support idleness and street begging. It is our desire to have some structures and special market for them.
“I am already talking with the government of the FCT and very soon, things will be resolved. So, please help me educate them that because you are disabled does not give you the guarantee to break laws and I don’t want any of them to be manhandled. It is a dynamic thing, but let us balance the pendulum”.
On the short-changing of the disabled in the distribution of the N5,000 monthly stipend, the presidential aide stated, “I have raised the issue of the N5000 with the party chairman. Our participation is not encouraging and it is not to the level of my satisfaction and I have discussed that with the party. Just give me a little more time to work on that.
“If you look at the level,of social injustice, I think that disbursement should actually begin with us. I accept that I am part of the government and I am saying that which has been done concerning disability is not enough because I am not satisfied and I am doing all that is my best to increase the participation.”
Ankeli also spoke on the delay in passing the bill on persons with disability. “The bill has been passed four times by the National Assembly. In 2010, the bill was passed by both houses of the National Assembly and harmonised. I was in the harmonization committee, but the then President did not sign it till they left office.
“This time, I am part of those who gave the assurance and I have consulted with the party leaders to impress it on the National Assembly to bring out the harmonized bill which has been passed by both chambers.
“We are waiting for the harmnisation so that it will be transmitted to the President and I can assure. You that the President is waiting to sign it into law and we will have a National Commission for Disability Rights coming into existence,” he said.