The Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has proffered the jailing of corrupt government officials as the most potent way to scare others away from corrupt acts.
The call was made Wednesday by the Public Relations Officer of JONAPWD, Obinna Ekujereonye during a radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG.
Speaking on an investigative report that indicted the Women Affairs and Social Development Ministry for Spending N275 Million on non-existing Rehabilitation Institutes for Persons With Disabilities, he asked the President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure government officials indicted of corruption pay a high price to serve as deterrent.
“I ‘m advocating for jail term and I know a lot of people are advocating for it. if you leave these corrupt officials to go the way they are going, I tell you, the corruption will keep increasing by the day.
“I want the government to really look into this corruption issue. I think the government said they are fighting corruption but I don’t think they are doing their best and I don’t know if it is lip-service or they truly mean the fight against corruption.
“What the government should do is at least let us see someone who stole N1 million jailed for ten, twenty or thirty years.”
Ekujereonye lamented the years spent before the Person With Disabilities Act was passed into law, while commending the federal government for setting up the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
He said the commission will address corruption affecting PWDs and a lot of things. “This bill has been part of the act and we have it in our kits but the problem remains implementation.
“If you go to public buildings, most of them don’t have lifts or parking lots for persons with disabilities. If the commission is set up fully, I think after five years they will begin to pursue and make sure this act is implemented to the latter,” Ekujereonye said.
Speaking earlier on the programme, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), Peace Oriaku Ezekiel regretted that most Nigerians and the vast majority of the 25 million Nigerians with disabilities are not aware of the N275 Million swooped on rehabilitation institutes by the Women Affairs Ministry.
She stressed that PWDs suffer a great deal of injustice in employment and in several sectors due to systemic corruption. CCD, however, lauded PRIMORG for amplifying such levels of fraud in the Women Affairs Ministry.
“Corruption started a very long time and our government said they are fighting corruption and we have not seen much of what they have done,” Ezekiel said.
Ezekiel revealed that CCD have lined up programmes against corruption in Nigeria.
Her words: “We have a project to strengthen citizens’ resistance against the prevalence of corruption which we have run for five years, they are; Scrap-C project, and Upright for Nigeria Campaign. We have it in Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna states and in Abuja. This project helped us to build persons with disabilities on resisting corruption,” she stated.
It will be recalled that the Department of Rehabilitation was moved from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, to the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management at the inception of President Buhari’s second term in 2019.
However, co-convener of the programme, Adaobi Obiabunmuo revealed that PRIMORG’s frantic effort to have both ministries to join the programme proved abortive as they never responded to their invitation during the programme, after the programme and before press time.