BACKGROUND TO DELIBERATIONS
The meeting was necessitated by an investigative report by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) that the Women Affairs and Social Development Ministry for spending N275 million on non-existing rehabilitation institutes meant for PWDs.
Despite the well circulated report and PRIMORG’s further discussion on it on PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, the syndicated anti-corruption radio program, there has not been any denial of the report or any official clarification from the relevant government departments.
The meeting was used to underscore the challenges of PWDs occasioned by corruption and ways to ensure their wellbeing are not undermined by corruption in the public sector.
stakeholders during the meeting examined the challenges and impact of corruption in the general wellbeing of persons with disabilities, as well as proffer steps that must be taken by governments at all levels to change the ugly trend.
Participants at the special meeting include: Ene Ede, Co-ordinator, Violence Against Person with Disabilities, VAPP; David Anyaele, Executive Director Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD; Yekeen Akinwale, Journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR; and Liman Usman, Media Consultant/President, Disabled Persons with Social Needs Initiative, DIPSNI.
In the course of deliberation, participants at the town hall meeting noted the following:
1. Corruption in Nigeria’s public sector is systemic.
2. Women with disabilities are defenseless, more affected by corruption.
3. Government institutions are allegedly using PWDs to retire and divert funds meant for PWDs.
4. Fraud in the management of funds meant for PWDs now a pattern in government ministries, departments and agencies.
5. Impoverishment of PWDs induced by states and politicians.
6. The entire federation has only one rehabilitation institution for over 25 million PWDs.
7. Laws protecting PWDs lacking in most states in Nigeria.
8. Budgetary allocation for PWDs mismanaged or diverted by state governments.
9. Punitive actions are not taken against corrupt government indicted officials.
10. Some PWDs helplessly aiding government officials in perpetrating corruption against PWDs.
11. PWDs need to press harder with their demands on the government.
12. Public servants allegedly orientate political office holders on how to perfect corrupt acts.
13. Indicted government officials, ministries, departments and agencies yet to be sanctioned by anti-graft agencies.
14. President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, the National Assembly yet to react to reported fraud at the Women Affairs and Social Development Ministry, where N275 million was spent on non-existing rehabilitation institutes meant for PWDs.
15. The Federal Government urged to be accountable, transparent with funds allocation for the welfare of PWDs.
16. PRIMORG was commended for giving voice to PWDs and scaling up the fight against corruption.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
A. PWDs set to track federal and state budgetary allocation
PWDs need collaboration with Civil Society Organisations to aid the fight against corruption affecting them.
B. PWDs working in government agencies must work closely with civil society organisations in order to identify areas corruption is perpetrated.
C. Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act should be enforced to check economic corruption.
D. The Federal Government must lead the way in transparency and accountability in governance for states to follow.
E. That PRIMORG should draw the attention of the anti-corruption agencies to the alleged fraud perpetrated by government officials at the Federal Ministries of Women Affairs and Social Development.