The Director General, Industrial Training Fund, ITF, Sir Joseph Ari, has said that research has shown that one in every ten people in Nigeria suffers from one form of disability or the other. The DG also stated that, even though authorities in Nigeria deferred on proportion of the physically challenged, the national assembly in 2013 estimated that over 20 million Nigerians are living with one form of disability or the other.
He explained that the center for disability and development innovations in 2016, approximated the number of disabled people in the country to be as high as 25 million. Making the assertions on Monday in an address at the closing ceremony of Skills Training and Empowerment Programme for the 20 Kaduna physically challenged, Step-C, in Kaduna state, he said no fewer than 120 physically challenged persons have benefited from the skills training and empowerment programme of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, across the country.
The DG, who was represented by the Deputy Director, ITF, Martins Shepga, said nine out of every ten persons with disability in the country live below the poverty line.He said the objective of the programme was to provide technical and vocational skills training to disabled Nigerians in different trades and crafts. Ari also stated that the need for the programme was part of the 2018 implementable programmes to equip many Nigerians with skills for employability and entrepreneurship in line with the policy direction of President Muhammad Buhari.
He explained, “In most societies including Nigeria, any major disability renders an individual more vulnerable to poverty in view of several factors, some of which are cultural while others stem from the absence of policies that would have ensured that they thrive as any normal person. “We believed that equipping the physically challenged people with skills will strengthen them socially and economically.” According to him, the training commenced in August this year with 120 participants drawn from Bayelsa, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Osun, Plateau and Taraba. The participants were trained in foot-wear making, phone repairs, lady’s wig cap making and manual clothes design and embroidery.
Nicodemus Hananiyas who is one of the twenty beneficiaries in Kaduna state promised to contribute his quota to the economic development of the country. While encouraging the beneficiaries to make use of the opportunity, the District Head of Doka, Bala Tijjani said they must develop the habit of given back to the society. ITF also presented 10 small generators for the handset repairers and startup packs to all the beneficiaries to enable them start the business immediately.
The Kaduna Area manager, Yayaha Manu, advised the beneficiary not to sell their starter pack, saying doing so will deprive them of becoming an employer of Labour which is the main aim of government for introducing the training program.