The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Disabilities, Princess Miriam Onuoha has commended the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan for creating a special Desk for persons living with disabilities in her Office and initiating relevant policies to improve their welfare.
Rt. Hon. Princess Miriam Onuoha gave the commendation when she paid a courtesy call on the Head of Service in her Office on Friday, March 4, 2022, in Abuja.
She said that the Committee came to assess the level of preparedness of the Office of the Head of Civil Service towards the implementation of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.
The Committee, she added, was in the Office to also monitor the issuance of circular on the implementation and compliance to the Disability Act; status of the mandatory 5% employment quota to be allotted to Persons with Disabilities and total number of staff recruited or replaced (if any) in the year 2018 to date, among others.
She further revealed that the Committee will soon begin legislative hearings aimed at engaging stakeholders including the MDAs, to ascertain the status of implementation and compliance to the Act, and where applicable recommend sanction.
While commending the Head of Service for her numerous initiatives, she urged her to do more in alleviating the plight of Persons with disabilities.
Responding, the Head of Service , Dr. Yemi-Esan, said her Office established a Desk for persons with disabilities to cater for their needs in the work place. The Disability Desk, which is under the Department of Occupational Health and Safety, she explained has already commenced work to assist federal workers with disabilities.
The Department, she added has conducted a baseline survey for people with disabilities to ensure proper planning for their needs. The initial pilot survey revealed that there are about 352 persons with disabilities in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the Federal Capital Territory. Out of this number, 239 which is about 68% are males while the other 113 are females.
The Head of Service further revealed that 80% of workers with disabilities are married while a good number of them fall within Salary Grade Levels 6 to 10.
The baseline data, she explained, will enable the Office to properly plan for their needs and appropriately place them in the scheme of things.
“All families have people living with disabilities. They are our brothers and sisters. Just as we look after them in our homesteads, we must also take care of them in our offices too, not pity them but ensure they contribute their own quota to the development of the country”, she added.
The HoS also said that the Service will continue to provide more opportunities for persons with disabilities in the area of recruitment, noting that in the 2021 Revised Public Service Rules (PSR) as approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) five percent of all recruitment would be allocated to them.
As part of measures to cater for their needs, the Office has also taken steps to ensure that all MDAs restructure accesses to their offices to enable persons with disabilities have easy passage, Dr. Yemi-Esan added.
She further said that her Office is working to roll out Public Service Bus Scheme for civil servants, adding that the buses would be user-friendly for people living with disabilities. Other areas in which the Office is intervening for the benefit of officers with disabilities are training and provision of affordable housing.
The Chairman of the Committee was accompanied on the visit by other members such as Hon. Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson, Hon. Dachung Bagos Musa and the Clerk of the Committee, Mr. Abdu Salam Olalekan.
Also in attendance, was Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe, Permanent Secretary, Service Welfare Office (OHCSF).