By Francis Sardauna
The People with Disabilities (PWDs) in Katsina State have bemoaned the lockdown imposed on citizens by the state government, lamenting that hunger would kill them if nothing is done to cushion their hardship.
They said despite the 14-day lockdown imposed by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, they were not provided with palliatives by the state government to assuage what they termed the untold hardship bedevilling them.
Following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the state which resulted in 21 confirmed cases, the state government has shut down seven local government areas as part of precautionary measures to combat the spread of the infectious disease.
The affected local governments included Safana, Daura, Katsina, Dutsin-Ma, Batagarawa, Jibia and Mani.
Speaking on the plight of the PWDs in an exclusive interview with THISDAY on Saturday, the Katsina State Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, Lawal Mammande, said most of his members could not afford one square meal per day due to the stay-at-home order.
He said: “Most of our members rely solemnly on daily begging, petty trading and menial jobs to feed their families but today it has been impossible due to the restriction of movement by the state government.”
Mammande reiterated that 99 per cent of physically challenged people in the state were not government workers, hence the need for the state government and philanthropists to render humanitarian assistance to them in order to alleviate their predicaments during this holy month of Ramadan.
According to him, “Some of us beg along the streets, markets and other places for survival and all these places had been shut down by government without providing support for us even at this fasting period.
“Since the commencement of this lockdown, we have not received any palliative or financial support from government, NGOs or philanthropists in the state. Even today (Saturday), hundreds of my members came to my house soliciting for assistance but I don’t have anything to give them.”
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the State Government on Physically Challenged Persons, Mr. Ya’u Rufa’i Zaka, admitted that disabled persons in the state were in adversity condition that needed urgent attention by government at all levels.
He, however, said he had since written a memo to Governor Masari soliciting for foodstuffs and other palliatives to be distributed to the physically challenged people in the state.