Over 30 multinational companies and institutions including MTN, Unilever, Guinness, among others, have pledged to engage qualified Persons Living With Disabilities in their various workforces, the Federal Government announced on Friday.
Speaking on the side-lines of the Inclusion Works Programme organised by Sightsavers Nigeria in Abuja, which focused on empowerment and employment for PLWDs, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Persons With Disability, James Lalu, said the Federal Government had also mandated its agencies to employ competent disabled persons.
He said, “Over 30 multinationals and gigantic institutions have made commitments to engage PLWDs. We have MTN, Unilever, Guinness, Nigerian Breweries and many others on the list.
“We have developed the accessibility minimum standard and it is being forwarded for approval by the Federal Executive Council. Once it is approved, we are going to share it with all these organisations to make sure they provide reasonable accommodation for our people in the workplace.
“It will enable our people to navigate the environment freely and ensure that they are very productive. The commitment of the Federal Government in the provision of employment to persons with disabilities is also legendary.”
Lalu described the private sector as the largest employer of labour today in Nigeria, stressing that it was important for them to provide employment to PLWDs.
“However, I must say that their commitment to this is legendary for they have now developed what we call disability confidence,” he stated
The commission’s boss added, “Earlier a lot of people see PLWDs as less productive people, for no matter the degree or certificate which a disabled person acquires, people don’t believe that such persons could deliver.
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“I experienced it personally in my life, but thank God we have been able to overcome that. Right now programmes of this nature have proven that PLWDs have capacities. We are part of human diversity and should be respected as such.”
The Country Director, Sightsavers Nigeria, Sunday Isiyaku, said the ambition of the organisation through its inclusion works project, was to generate evidence on how the labour market system could change to be disability-inclusive.
He said, “The combination of a mentoring intervention for job seekers, blended with the soft skills training proved significantly successful as we have seen more than 200 people with disabilities transition into employment over the course of the inclusion works programme.”