Jigawa’s government has decided to pay a monthly stipend to 5400 of the likely tens of thousands persons with disabilities the state cannot account for in its social safety register.
The state has been unable to put together an up-to-date register of its PWDs over the years. Even the decision to pay the vulnerable group only became necessary after the state’s women affairs ministry came up with a rough-and-ready register.
“The state executive council approved a memo from the ministry for physical verification and validation of the PWDs,” Sagir Musa Ahmad, commissioner of information and youth support, told newsmen Jan. 23.
He added the council jacked up the stipend from N7000 to N10000, and approved the increase of beneficiaries’ figure from 150 to 200 in each of the state’s 27 LGAs.
Among the major geopolitical zones, the north is believed to have the highest percentage of PWDs of the 35 million Nigeria reportedly has. According to the Action Against Hunger, Jigawa has 33,000 PWDs, and still counting.
The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) itself cannot verify any of these figures, though. As of 2023, fewer than 300000 PWDs got captured in the national social register.
Under its pioneer executive secretary, James Lalu, the commission has, however, budgeted more than N170 million on data gathering and database establishment to address this data impasse. But Lalu has renused to account for the spending over the years.
The Jigawa move came after the President Bola Tinubu administration buckled down to purging the Nigeria Social Investment Programme Agency and others in the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry at the centre.
Physical verification which the state adopted again, instead of biometric capturing, frustrated the hope of beneficiaries in the past, with many in the register now dead.
How the state will sustain it this time without a snag remains an issue.