The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Tuesday said it evacuated 3,000 mentally challenged persons from the streets of Abuja between 2019 and 2023.
Dr Sani Amar-Rabe, Director, Department of Social Welfare Services of the Social Development Secretariat (SDS) of FCTA, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Amar-Rabe said: “Mentally challenged persons are entirely mobile.
“From 2019 to 2023, no fewer than 3,000 mentally challenged persons were removed from the streets of Abuja. Yet, everyday you will see new faces in the city.
“We have in our records pictures of all of them who were taken back to their respective states of origin, especially those whose condition is irredeemable.
“We take those with physical health challenges to the hospital for proper treatment after which we profile them to get proper information about their identity and relations.”
Amar-Rabe said that the department has records of people who testified that through the FCTA, they were able to find their missing relations.
He said that their efforts were being supported by the Nigeria Police Force, especially the Police Divisions in the FCT.
Amar-Rabe added: “Whenever the police sight a mentally challenged person within their area of jurisdiction, they call us to go and pick them up.
”But, if they are less busy and have logistics, they bring them to our office for necessary action.
“Anybody who wants to confirm can go to the FCT Vocational and Rehabilitation Centre, Bwari that provides multipurpose services on human rehabilitation and see for himself.
“Presently, we have no fewer than 100 mentally challenged persons ranging from people with depression and drug addicts and their likes who are made to undergo psychosocial therapy.”
Amar-Rabe said that those that were better off were introduced to vocational and rehabilitation training to complete their rehabilitation scheme.
He said: “It is not only through psycho-social therapy that you confirm if the person is getting better but by engaging him in some training skills; his response will definitely tell you whether he is ok or not.”
The director said that the social welfare department with the support of the Mandate Secretary for the Social Development Secretariat, Mrs Hadiza Kabir, is working assiduously to rid the city of all kinds of human and environmental nuisance.
“The secretariat is mandated to handle the social human component of the FCTA, which includes the vulnerable persons in the FCT such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, indigent patients in the hospitals, and the mentally challenged.
“We also sanitise the city against human nuisance like the street baggers, destitute and abandoned children.
“When we ascertain the health condition of the abandoned children we hand them over to the Department of Gender and Child Welfare Services for upkeep,” he said.
Amar-Rabe said the department had renewed the fight against street hawking, who are mostly children of people displaced by insurgency in the North East and banditry in the North West.