People with disability hit as benevolent support shrinks

The cost of living crisis in Africa’s biggest economy is hitting hard on people living with disabilities as benevolent support from individuals and organisations shrinks, BusinessDay findings show.

BusinessDay spoke with people with disabilities in Ketu, Agege, Mushin, Apapa, and Berger who said that the rate at which they receive support from individuals and organisations has declined, attributing it to the inflationary economy.

“We usually have a particular church that comes every Sunday to distribute food and toiletries but we haven’t seen them for almost five months now,” Musa Idris a disabled beggar, said.

“I think it is because of the constant surge in the prices of everything that is making things hard for everybody in Nigeria. So, the churches cannot afford to give us support like before,” Idris stated.

He noted that even individuals have reduced their benevolent support towards them while some have drastically reduced the support they usually provide for people with disability.

Mariam Mohammed, a beggar along Mile 12 –Ketu road said the support she gets daily from passersby has drastically reduced as many people are also struggling to feed owing to the surge in food prices.

There is hardly a day that we don’t get much support from people but now there are times we won’t even get any at all.

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“When I send my children out to beg, they come back to tell me that people are not giving them anything. Things are getting harder for everybody and this is why people are not giving like before,” she said.

She called on the government to come to their aid, noting that hunger is dealing badly with people with disabilities.

Despite inflation accelerating and hunger, the federal government has failed to provide any form of safety support for individuals or businesses.

Nigeria’s Inflation has accelerated to 21.09 percent in October, the highest in 17 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, with it set to go even higher if the Nigerian government fails to act on soaring food, and fuel scarcity, analysts say.

Africa’s biggest economy has been grappling with double monthly digit inflation since 2016.

The situation is making Nigerians face increasing pressures daily and forcing them to make hard choices as prices of all products continue to rise amid dwindling income.

“These people can’t afford to feed themselves and the cost of living crisis is making living more difficult for them,” said Rosa Daniel, manager of Cedar Seed Foundation in a response to questions.

“There is a serious decline in the support we are providing for people with disabilities because we are also experiencing a decline in support from donors and individuals,” Daniel said.

She urged the federal government to provide support for people with disabilities amid surging prices, noting that children are hardest hit by the consequences.

The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had in November warned that 14.7 million Nigerian children under the age of five will suffer from moderate to severe malnutrition if the Nigerian government and stakeholders fail to take urgent action.

UNICEF attributed the surge in malnutrition among children to accelerating inflation and other factors affecting the country’s food security.

Also, the Food and Agricultural Organisation in a separate report in April said 19.4 million Nigerians are food insecure and malnutrition rates in most northern states have more than doubled.

“We can’t even afford to feed any longer. The number of people helping us is decreasing daily and the little we have can’t even buy enough for us to feed,” a disabled beggar along Oshodi – Mushin road who gave his name as Musa said.