L-R: JohnMichaels Mbanefo, Head of Media and Publicity, National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD); Soji Adewale, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, NCPWD; Usman Malah, Director, Human Capital and Administration, NCC; James Lalu, Executive Secretary, NCPWD; Hafsat Lawal, Head, Human Capital, NCC and Mohammed Baba, Director, Accessibility, NCPWD, during a courtesy visit by the NCPWD Management to NCC in Abuja, FCT Photo: NCC

NCC deploys 84 ICT projects to support Persons with Disabilities

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of   the Nigerian Communications Commission says the telecoms regulator has always implemented initiatives aimed at ensuring digital inclusivity for all Nigerians, regardless of their circumstances

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As part of measures to support the people with special needs, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said it deployed 84 assistive Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects at different locations across the country.

The telecoms sector regulatory Commission also disclosed it has supported policies that enable disadvantaged members of the society to live a more qualitative life.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, stated: “The E-Accessibility project seeks to meet the ICT needs of persons living with disabilities in Nigeria by providing ICT tools, assistive technologies, training, and Internet provision in the identified locations.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

“Between 2012 to 2020, the NCC has deployed the E-Accessibility Projects in, at least, 84 locations nationwide.”

The EVC/CEO of Commission disclosed this development during a courtesy visit by a delegation from National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD) to the NCC Headquarters over the weekend in Abuja, FCT.

Danbatta, during the NCPWD delegation’s visit restated the NCC’s commitment to continually supporting people with special needs across Nigeria.

Mr. Reuben Muoka, Director of Public Affairs at NCC, stated Prof. Danbatta, while receiving the team, led by James Lalu, Executive Secretary of NCPWD, said the telecoms regulator had always implemented initiatives aimed at ensuring digital inclusivity for all Nigerians, regardless of their circumstances.

Represented by Usman Malah, Director of Human Capital and Administration, the NCC Chief Executive noted the telecoms sector had become the backbone of the national economy, and thus has recorded tremendous growth from 400,000 telephone lines on the eve of sectoral deregulation in 2000 to over 208 million active telephone lines now, just as active Internet subscriptions rose to 156 million in the last two decades.

He further stated the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Industry’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) currently stands at 18.44 percent, according to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as of the second quarter (Q2) of 2022.

Besides, Danbatta disclosed that the NCC has continued to ensure Quality of Service (QoS) delivery to the telecoms consumers and digital inclusion for all.

The NCC, Danbatta as well noted, recognises and aligns with the noble objectives behind the establishment of NCPWD as enabled by the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act of 2018.

The NCC Chief Executive also said aside from implementing the five per cent inclusiveness of persons with disabilities in NCC’s staffing efforts in accordance with the law, the telecoms regulator, through the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) has executed several projects within the framework of its E-Accessibility Programme in last 10 years.

The Commission’s framework of E-Accessibility Programme targets the challenged members of the society, said he.

Danbatta noted: “In other words, the project provides ICT tools and Assistive Technologies (ATs) to the blind, the deaf, dumb, crippled, cognitively impaired, and other categories of people living with disabilities.

“As disadvantaged members of society, the project is designed to assist in improving the quality of life of people living with disability.”

In his remarks, Executive Secretary Lalu said the purpose of the agency’s visit was to keep the NCC Management abreast of the NCPWD mandates and activities, and to seek greater collaborations with the telecoms regulator for the benefits of estimated 35.5 million persons with disabilities in Nigeria.

He also commended the NCC for the “wonderful work it has been doing through various projects in support of people with disabilities in the country.”

Lalu, therefore, appealed to the Commission to help in creating awareness among telecoms service providers to comply with the legal requirement to dedicate five percent of their employment quota to persons with disabilities. This category of Nigerians are ‘smart, professional and intelligent’ and can make significant contribution to the growth of the respective organisations employing them, despite their disabilities, he said.

Lalu stated: “What we want to achieve is to make Nigeria a country that is comfortable for PLWD by ending discrimination and providing adequate reporting system, and we have seen NCC as a strategic and important partner in this journey.”

The NCPWD was established, pursuant to Section 31 of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disability (Prohibition) Act 2018, to promote, protect and prioritise the rights of persons with disabilities, and to further enhance their productivity through education, health, and other socio-economic activities and programmes.

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