Persons with disabilities commend LIFE-ND for inclusiveness in agribusiness


Persons with disabilities (PWDs) on Tuesday commended the Abia project office of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises for Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) for inclusive participation in agribusiness

They thanked LIFE-ND for the five per cent social inclusion in agro-enterprises, during the project’s policy dialogue with them in Umuahia.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that LIFE-ND is being funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, in collaboration with the Federal Government.
It promotes community-based on-farm and off-farm business activities along key agricultural value chain.
 Mr Eldad Monu, Chairman of Abia State Disability Commission, who commended the project’s intervention, said that their inclusion would provide a productive way out of poverty for large numbers of PWDs in the state.
Monu, who spoke through a sign language interpreter, remarked that disability inclusion in economic development could be a commercially viable business strategy.
Monu, also the chairman of the occasion, urged firms and other organisations to move away from a welfare approach and engage the disability community in productive venture.
“The Disability Law and the Commission are already in Abia State.
A LIFE-ND beneficiary, Emmanuel Anthony, giving a testimony.


“Being in this dialogue shows that agriculture is important to Disability Commission because we believe in agriculture,” he said.
The Abia LIFE-ND Coordinator, Dr Uchenna Onyeizu, explained that the purpose of the interaction was for the PWDs to express their challenges on what the project was doing with them so that the project could in turn adjust.
He expressed satisfaction with the performance of PWDs based on the experience with those earlier engaged, saying “we have heard very successful stories.”
L-R…Dr Clement Uwem, National Coordinator, Rural Institution, Youth and Gender; Dr Uchenna Onyeizu, Abia Coordinator; Mr Anthony Nwaobilor, State Rural Institution, Youth and Gender Officer, LIFE-ND.


According to him, even the period we had the review by our donor organisation, they met some of them and they were impressed with the outcome.
Onyeizu said that the per cent inclusiveness was the minimum provision made during the project’s initiation, promising that he would try and push it to 10 per cent if he got their  cooperation and commitment.
The state coordinator called on other development projects to be as inclusive as possible, stressing “they have added  a lot of values and colour to what we are doing.”
In a remark, Dr Clement Uwem, the National Coordinator Rural Institution Youth and Gender, said that it was strategic engagement responding to the Social Development Goal(SDG)  of social inclusion.
Mr Eldad Monu, Abia State Chairman of Disability Commission, addressing participants via a sign language interpreter.


He said that real development could not not be attained without carrying along the PWDs, whom he describe as critical stakeholders.
Uwem lauded Abia Government for taking a proactive step in adopting and signing a disability law to the extent of having a separate commission.
“I’m very sure that not up to four states out of 36 have this kind of structure.
“This is going to be a platform that will further ensure that existing policy outlines on disability is being implemented,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Anthony Nwaobilor, the State Rural Institution Youth and Gender Officer, said that the dialogue succeeded in identifying specific areas of needs of the PWDs.
According to him, today, we have been to know that the PWDs are in clusters such as:  the blind, dumb, cripple, spinal cord injury, albinos, autism and those cured of leprosy.
“It is an eye-opener and it will help us in our future engagements with them, in terms of their empowerment,” he said.
 Mrs Mercy Okezie, the Director, Disability Department, Ministry of Youth Development, lauded  LIFE-ND for accepting the inclusion of PWDs in the state.
Okezie, also the Secretary of the disability commission, expressed happiness with the testimony of Emmanuel Anthony, a PWD whom the project established a poultry pen with functional water for, in Ohanze, Obingwa Local Government Area.
A participant, Mr. Vincent Nwabuisi, a mechanical engineer on wheelchair, thanked LIFE-ND for the life-changing programme for PWDs.
Nwabuisi, a member of National Association of Persons with Disabilities, urged relevant stakeholders to make buildings physically friendly for PWDs.(NAN)