National Commission for Persons with Disabilities Partners with FCT Administration to Secure Trading Spaces for PwDs. In a progressive move towards inclusivity and empowerment, the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) is set to collaborate with the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Administration to provide designated shopping spaces for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) to conduct their legitimate trade.

This significant announcement was made by Mr. James Lalu, the Executive Secretary of the NCPWD, during a meeting with the leadership of the Self-Reliance for Physically Challenged Traders Association of Nigeria (SPCTAN), led by their Chairman, Mr. Munnir Shehu, in the heart of Abuja.

The purpose of the delegation’s visit was two fold: first, to express their concerns regarding the disruption of their businesses by the joint task force, and second, to submit a letter of appeal to the Executive Secretary for onward delivery to the FCT Minister.

Mr. Lalu assured the delegation of his unwavering commitment to championing their cause, emphasizing the importance of enabling them to maintain a dignified means of livelihood. He commended the members of the traders association for their dedication to lawful business practices despite their physical challenges.

I thank you for standing on what we always say, that disability is not inability. Because you go out and do legitimate business to earn a living; you never find excuses for your own disability,” Mr. Lalu affirmed. “I want to assure you that the complaint you bring here about the disruption of your businesses will be presented to the Minister of FCT, Mr. Nyesom Wike. We will make sure that alternative means are provided for you to continue your legitimate business.”

Mr. Shehu, representing SPCTAN, highlighted that they have over 293 members engaged in legitimate businesses within the FCT. He further implored the FCTA to allocate shops to their members, creating a conducive environment for their trade.

This appeal is crucial to move these traders away from the streets, ultimately preventing further confrontations and harassment with the environmental joint task force in the city.

Shehu explained, “We have been out of business for the past three to four weeks now, unable to go to our business places. It’s a serious issue when the ‘FCTA Environmental Taskforce’ apprehends our members, taking them to SARS, and we have to bail them out.”

He went on to highlight the human aspect of their struggle, emphasizing that these individuals do not resort to street begging. Instead, they engage in legitimate business activities, with some earning between N500 to N1,000 daily, crucial amounts that sustain them.

This collaboration between the NCPWD and the FCT Administration is a significant step towards creating an inclusive and supportive environment for Persons with Disabilities, ensuring they can participate fully in economic activities. It stands as a testament to the power of advocacy and collective efforts in fostering a more inclusive society.