No fewer than 700 ex-military personnel had their limbs amputated and eventually dismissed from the service due to the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East. This was as the United States and Nigeria have opened discussions on how to tackle the threat posed by the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) and its affiliate terrorist organisations in West Africa.
National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), which disclosed the state of the 700 ex-military personnel yesterday during its 2021 budget defence at the National Assembly, said that it had integrated the affected exsecurity personnel. The commission pleaded for an upward review of its budget to meet with the increasing demand of its capital budget.
Executive Secretary of the Commission, James Lalu, in his presentation before the Senate Committee on Special Duties, explained that there were about 31.5 million Nigerians living with disability, lamenting that the number kept increasing on everyday especially with the challenges of insurgency in the country.
He said: “Recently, we have to integrate about 700 ex-military personnel who had their limbs amputated and eventually dismissed from the service due to the Boko Haram insurgent. We have to provide artificial limbs for them to ensure they are reintegrated back into the society and live a normal life.”
Lalu noted that disability was no more a charity issue, but had become a developmental issue that needed to be properly tackled in the society. He warned that failure to address this issue would place serious burden on government, which would be grappled with the challenge of giving out stipends that would never achieve the lasting solution.
According to him, the budget increase will take care of education, healthcare needs and livelihood of people with disabilities, pointing out that a lot of disabled persons take to begging on the street when they cannot meet with their basic needs.
Lalu also notified the Senate committee that, in its 2021 budget, the Commission proposed to open up zonal, states and local government offices to reach out to all its members living in the rural areas. Responding, the Chairman of the Committee on Special Duties, Senator Yusuf Yusuf, urged the Commission to create a database of all its members across the country and design empowerment training for them, especially those in the rural areas for a positive impact.
Meanwhile, the United States and Nigeria have convened a virtual meeting with members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and representatives of West African States and relevant regional organizations to discuss ways the Coalition can contribute to collective efforts to ensure ISIS’ enduring defeat in the region. U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has described the global coalition against ISIS as a great progress into efforts to defeat the dreaded terror organisation.
“We will use all tools at our disposal to counter ISIS and its affiliates anywhere in the world. My thanks to Nigeria for co-hosting the event,” Pompeo tweeted. U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, who is the newly designated Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, outlined the Coalition’s increasing focus on defeating ISIS’ global branches and affiliates.
Sales also expressed his appreciation to the Nigerian delegation led by Rear Admiral Yaminu E. Musa, Coordinator for the Counter Terrorism Centre in Nigeria’s Office of the National Security Adviser, for co-hosting the event.
With this focus on West Africa, the Coalition also announced Mauritania’s accession into the Coalition as the 83rd member. Since January 2017, the Coalition has welcomed 14 new members from Africa and Asia and continues to expand its reach and cooperation against ISIS branches and affiliates.
The meeting included sessions on understanding and countering the threat, moderated by U.S. Special Envoy for the Sahel, Ambassador J. Peter Pham. Representatives from Global Coalition members – Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Niger and co-host, Nigeria, provided key insights on troubling developments of ISIS affiliate activity in West Africa and suggested ways the Coalition could enhance efforts to counter these trends.
As the Global Coalition seeks to apply lessons learned from the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria to other locations, participants reviewed potential lines of effort, including the use of battlefield evidence and border security measures that could be applied in West Africa.