PWDs not benefitting sufficient from social safety programmes in 4 Nigerian states –Survey

A new survey conducted in four states in northwestern Nigeria found that people with disabilities are the least likely benefactors of the various national social protection programs in those states.

This despite the fact that the PWDs belong to the most vulnerable and neglected groups of people.

The survey, which was conducted in the states of Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano and Zamfara, aimed to determine the level of inclusion and participation of people with disabilities in social protection policies, programs and processes.

The Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) piloted the assessment with support from Save the Children, Action Against Hunger (AHH) and Child Development Grant Program (CDGP).

The “situation analysis” published on Monday, which was carried out over a period of four months, reflected the growing gap in the social inclusion of people with disabilities in Nigeria.

The survey mainly focused on insights into the awareness and access of people with disabilities to social protection.

While approximately 90 percent of people with disabilities in the four states have little or no knowledge of social protection programs, leaders in disability movements in the state claim that less than one percent of people with disabilities benefit from both state and national social protection programs, it said in the report.

“There is an urgent need to review and revise the life cycle of various social protection programs to ensure equal coverage and participation of people with disabilities,” said IFA Executive Director while presenting the survey results in Abuja.

She recommended using data from the assessment as a tool to “identify and assess the needs for disabilities in Nigeria”.

Social protection

Nigeria makes the highest contribution to the global poverty index.

Nigeria has been the nation with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty as of 2018.

The World Poverty Clock 2020 showed that more than half of the 200 million people in Nigeria live below the international poverty line.

The impact is even more worrying for populations already at risk, mainly represented by children, women, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Since the return of democracy in 1999, successive government administrations have put in place various poverty reduction programs that have been unsustainable as they have ended after each regime.

In 2016, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari took a step towards the institutionalization of social protection programs and formulated a national social protection policy (NSPP).

According to the Directive, social protection is “a mixture of policies and programs designed for individuals and households throughout the life cycle to prevent and reduce poverty and socio-economic shocks by promoting and improving livelihoods and living with dignity.”

The overall goals of the NSPP include reducing the poverty of people who are vulnerable to poverty and empowering those who are vulnerable to economic shocks.

One of his most important mandates is the development of a database for a national social register for poor and vulnerable households.

An integral part of the policy is the National Social Investment Programs (NSIP), coordinated by the National Social Investment Office (NSIO).

The NSIP consists of programs such as N-Power, the National School Feeding Program, and money transfer programs, among other things.


While exact data are barely available, a 2011 report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank states that 30 million Nigerians have some form of physical disability.

Around 63 percent of adults with disabilities in Nigeria are unemployed and 30 percent of school children are people with disabilities, according to IFA.

People with disabilities are among the most vulnerable people in our society because they are dependent on others for care and support, or because they are socially isolated, where they live, or because of the nature of their disability.

While anyone can experience violence, abuse, or neglect, people with disabilities are at great risk. And of all people with a disability, women and girls with disabilities are at even greater risk.

In an attempt to address the situation, Nigeria signed the Disability Discrimination Act last January after prominent Nigerians including David Anyeale, a disability rights activist and executive director of the Center for Citizens with, for over 20 years they entered disabilities (CCD).

But more than two years after the law was signed, many Nigerians with disabilities say there is still a long road to legal recognition and respect from Nigeria.

The government that approved the law literally helped break it.

Obviously, social protection programs and policies are particularly important to the everyday life of people with disabilities.

However, the results of the survey in the four priority countries showed a gross marginalization of people with disabilities, combined with poor awareness.

Although they typically face tougher barriers to education, health, transport and other services, the survey found that people with disabilities are consistently denied social and economic opportunities for inclusion.

Survey results

The survey was based on interviews with people with disabilities, leaders of organizations for people with disabilities (OPDs), government officials and key informants in the four states.

The results show that around 90 percent of those surveyed have little or no knowledge of social protection systems in their various states, and leaders of disability movements claim that less than one percent of the population of people with disabilities benefit from both state and national social protection programs.

Even those who benefit are excluded from their additional disability costs. The report says this has little or no impact on the fight against poverty.

“For example, while Jigawa has a social security system for people with disabilities, the determination and evaluation of disability eligibility is extremely weak and leaves room for inclusion and exclusion of errors,” the report said, adding that the program does not pay attention to invisible disabilities.

The N-Power program is the most popular among people with disabilities, but fewer than 15 percent of respondents know of beneficiaries with disabilities in their state.

The National Cash Transfer Office (NCTO) confirmed to the ICIR in April 2020 that around 1,126,211 poor and vulnerable households are currently benefiting from the federal government’s conditional money transfer.

However, the survey results showed that only 5 percent of respondents are aware of PWDs that benefit from remittance.

Two months ago, the National Coordinator of the National Coordination Office for Social Safety Nets (NASSCO), Apera Iorwa, said that no less than 30 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians were registered in the National Social Register (NSR) between 2018 and February 2021.

Of the 5.7 million poor and vulnerable Nigerians in the NSR as of December 31, 2020, less than 5 percent are people with disabilities, about 274,000 people.

Realities at the state level

At the state level, only 10 percent of people with disabilities and their leaders know the social register.

Jigawa recorded the highest number of interventions PWDs know about and benefit from. Only the state has a special disability grant aimed only at PWDs.

All four priority states with the exception of Zamfara have an existing inclusive education policy, but children continue to attend integrated, non-inclusive schools.

Jigawa and Kano have disability laws, while Kaduna and Zamfara laws are in the legislature.

Beyond politics, practices of engaging people with disabilities and strengthening the economy are weak in all four states, with Zamfara recording the worst.


The report strongly recommended that the data tool used for the social register be revised to collect and take into account disability data and possibly disability needs, rather than having a separate process of collecting disability data.

Improving the institutional capacity of Offices for People with Disabilities (OPDs) in the area of ​​social protection was recommended.

According to the report, there is an urgent need for a reinforced strategy for inclusive awareness and communication.

In order to reduce the additional costs for people with disabilities, the report suggested that a self-contained social protection system for the disabled is the best global practice there should be accepted between states and at the national level.

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