From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Edo Disability Forum (EDF) has appealed to the Edo State government to match words with actions on promises made to them on their visit to the various ministries of government in the state.

The Executive Director, Network for the Advancement of People With Visible Disabilities (NAPVID) and convener Edo Disability Forum (EDF), Melody Omosah, made the appeal while briefing journalists on the outcome of their visits to state ministries.

He said that the association visited the ministries to inform them that since the removal of fuel subsidy by the federal government, a lot have happened to them negatively and that the supposed palliatives by the state government to cushion its effect on the citizens of the state, the EDF were sidelined vis-a-vis the free bus system of the state government.

Omosah said that such agitations fired their desire to have visited the ministries noting that they are however happy with the promises made but the government has to step up its game by matching words with actions.

“As you are aware, on the 8th of February 2024, we convened to address the severe impact of fuel subsidy removal on Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Nigeria, particularly here in Edo State.

“We highlighted the disproportionate burden this policy change has placed on our community, exacerbating financial strain, social exclusion, and health challenges.

“Between the 8th of February 2024 and today, the health of the nation’s economy has further declined from a state where it elicited the concern of well-meaning Nigerians, to a critical point where the government is anxious over its survival.

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“As we know, the removal of fuel subsidy is not only responsible for this state of affairs, the “dollarisation” of our economy, brought about by the floating of the naira against the dollar, has further impoverished Nigerians with PWDs being worst impacted by these policies.

“Measures taken thus far by the federal government to arrest the meltdown of the economy, have not yet yielded the desired result.

“While staying optimistic that our economy will someday bounce back and that succour will come to Nigerians sooner than later, the Edo Disability Forum (EDF) has been engaging the highest echelon of Edo State government, to recommend immediate and sustainable measures that should be put in place to ameliorate the plights of PWDs and guarantee their survival in the aftermath of the subsidy removal.

“I am pleased to report that the State Government and the MDAs we have interacted with, have been very hospitable.

“Our engagements were met with open minds and hearts, and the representatives of these agencies have expressed their commitment to addressing the needs of PWDs in our state.

“They have welcomed our recommendations and have pledged to take the necessary actions to implement them. I should be quick to add that all we really have at this stage are pledges and commitments”, Omosah said.

He appealed that the PWDs should be included in the supposedly N1billion meant for the vulnerable in the state.