Nigeria introduces National Social Welfare Policy
An all-inclusive national social welfare policy, which will contain packages to take care of the developmental needs of Persons with Disability (PWDs), orphans and vulnerable children, as well as the elderly within the society, is on the verge of being developed in Nigeria.
The new policy is expected to provide a comprehensive social welfare package to check the growing menace of street begging in and around Nigerian cities by citizens.
It is equally geared towards arresting the alarming rate of street hawking by children, social excesses of street urchins as well as taking into consideration the plight of the aging sector of the country’s population and other vulnerable groups.
This formed part of the resolutions of the 14th regular meeting of the National Council on Women Affairs and Social Development (NCWASD) held in Ado Ekiti, Southern Nigeria.
The NCWASD is the highest policy-making body in issues that affect Nigerian women, children and other related aspects.
The body meets annually and comprises the Minister of Women Affairs, State Commissioners of Women Affairs, as well as the Director in charge of women affairs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Those in attendance
Also in attendance at this annual assembly are permanent secretaries, directors and heads of women and children departments, as well as rehabilitation and social welfare programmes at the federal and state levels.
The meeting helps in tracking progress made in related issues, resolving grey areas and deciding on issues and concerns emanating from the sector through the implementation of meaningful programmes, policies and projects that are aimed at improving the lives of women, children, PWDs and other marginalised groups in Nigeria.
The council meeting
The council meeting at Ekiti, which was chaired by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zainab Maina, and declared opened by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, urged the 36 State governments and the FCT to fast track the domestication of the UN Convention on the rights of PWDs; in view of the need to lessen poverty and improve standards of living of PWDs.
Similarly, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in the country was mandated to develop guidelines to facilitate networking, settlement and repatriation of street beggars and destitute, while state governments were enjoined to properly fund their various rehabilitation centres and other activities of PWDs.
The forum called on the ministry to resuscitate the promotion and exhibition of products made by PWDs as well as provide guidelines for the operations of day care centres for elderly citizens of the country.
The 22 states of the federation that have passed the child rights law were also encouraged to develop mechanism for effective implementation of the legislation in their domains.
The council further approved the replication of the commemoration of the World Peace Day on September 21 in all the states of the federation to educate Nigerian children on the importance of peace and social cohesion and also inculcate virtues of peaceful co-existence in line with global efforts on peace.
The commemoration was approved in reference to the theme of the 2012 meeting, which is ‘Promoting Peace and Enhancing Security to Address the Special Needs of Vulnerable Groups, Especially Women, Children, the Elderly, Persons with Disabilities and the Displaced’.