Nasir El Rufai

The Kaduna State Government plans to introduce a disability benefit programme to afford residents living with disabilities to live a life of dignity.

“It is to complement other social protection initiatives being implemented in the state,’’ said Mrs Saude Atoyebi, the State Focal Person on the Social Investment Programmes.

Atoyebi spoke at a media briefing on Saturday at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna, at the launch of the protection policy.

She praised Gov. Nasir El Rufai for the initiative and also said that the State Executive Council had passed the Social Protection Policy Law in August 2020 and was awaiting for its implementation.

“The main goal of the policy is to ensure that residents of Kaduna State, particularly the vulnerable groups, are afforded a life of dignity through programmes which are implemented in a fair and transparent manner,’’ she pointed out.

Atoyebi said that the State Steering Committee on Social Investments, with the support of Social Protection experts from Save the Children International and UNICEF, had earlier fine-tuned the protection policy, despite the numerous challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said that the final document had input from members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), beneficiaries and vulnerable groups, traditional institutions, representatives from key ministries, departments and agencies in the state and various other stakeholders.

“This policy is not one of those policies that we sat down as government officials and designed on our own, finalized and disseminated. This policy went through a robust engagement process which took a while and people were wondering why.

Atoyebi also said that the goal of this policy was to create an inclusive, robust, realistic and well coordinated Social Protection System that would leave no one below the minimum floor of economic and social well-being.

“The final document is guided by certain principles; there is the principle of equity and resource relocation and the principle of universal basic needs.

“’Everybody is entitled to eat, to have a roof over his heads, and cloth to wear, that is the basic necessities of life.

“It is guided by the principle of citizenship and thankfully everyone who is a resident in Kaduna is a citizen of the state.

“It is also guided by the principle of human rights; social protection is not a favour done by government to citizens, it is their right. It is gotten from a public pool of funds.

‘“We need people to know that this policy is hinged on that,’’ she added.

According to Atoyebi, the Kaduna State Social Protection Policy is also hinged on the principle of social control and inclusiveness “which means we do not discriminate against anyone based on their faith, ethnicity, gender or any other basis’’.

“That means everyone is treated fairly.

“This promotes inclusiveness amongst the disadvantaged groups who are usually forgotten, such as people living with disabilities and women due to some cultural factors in our society,” she said.

A member of the Steering committee, Muhammad Kabir Adam, said that the committee had included realistic ways of financially sustaining policy in the implementation plan.

“They proposed that one per cent of the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) be dedicated to servicing activities of the Social Protection Agency when established and the State Executive Council has committed to that and it has been approved,” he said.

Similarly, Jessica Barthlomew, the Chairperson Kaduna State Social Protection Accountability Coalition (KADSPAC) said that Kaduna State Government was doing its best to bridge the gap between CSOs, media and government in terms of information sharing.

She also said that the government was working hard to rid the Social Protection Programme of corruption.

NAN