Persons With Disabilities In Plateau Cry Foul Over Diversion Of Their N6.9M By Govt
Disabled persons in Plateau State are wailing over their N6.9 million already diverted for ‘foreign trips.’ The money was purported to have been released to the commissioners for Information and Communication as well as Women Affairs, and also to one Elizabeth Lalong for overseas trip, by Governor Simon Lalong of plateau state.
This was disclosed in a World Press Conference, which held at NUJ, Plateau State Council, Jos, on Tuesday, by Mr Bulus Shandi, who was spokesperson of the joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities (Plateau state chapter), and its Affiliates – Association of Special Schools and the National Association of Blind Persons With Physical Disabilities (Plateau state chapter), Nigeria Association of People Affected By Leprosy and Nigeria National Association of The Deaf, respectively.
According to him, a former Senior Assistant (to then Governor Jang), Mr James David Lalu, and his brother Tangkat Lalu, along with a Reverend Father, were indicted for posing as ‘disabled persons’ to get funds to buy landed properties.
He lamented that government ‘smuggled’ the names of Elizabeth Lalong, who is unknown to the Persons Living with Disabilities in the state, along with two others – the commissioner for Information and Communication, Hon Mohammed Nazifi, and commissioner for Women Affairs – in order to siphon state resources under the guise of ‘disabled persons.’
Mr Shandi stressed that, they cannot remain silent when a few group of individuals made use of state resources meant for the generality of persons with disabilities to service their personal interests. According to him, what worried the association most was their two Vocational and Rehabilitation Centers – the School of The Blind in Zawan and the Physically Handicapped in Zaria Road, which have remained closed for almost eight months now.
He accused James Lalu and his brother, Tangkat Lalu, who are currently representing the interest of Persons with Disabilities in the state and outside Nigeria. He further disclosed that the government hurriedly drafted and approved funds for the duo to travel on a UN mission.
He also affirmed that, the (former) senior Special Assistant to former Governor Jang on Disabilities Matters, and a politically-appointee member of the commission for eight years, in his desperate quest for the chairmanship of the commission pushed for a program in the United States of America. According to him, in order to achieve such evil plan, the SA recommended names of some top government officials to attend the program.
Mr Shandi likewise slammed one Ayuba Gufwan, who complained of the closure of the centres, saying that he (Gufwan) was ‘bought over’ and couldn’t speak when his name was scripted with those scheduled to travel.
He also fingered the secretary of the commission for conniving with the state to defraud the members, adding that Mr James Lalu faked to attend a Disabled Program in Ethiopia.