By Joko Dawodu Omotola
Today is a big day in our Country. It is the Celebration of the 60th year that we attained independence.
As we celebrate our Nation’s Independence, we should also remember our Heroes past that lost their lives in the battle for the freedom that we are enjoying today.
We must also appreciate and celebrate all our leaders in the ‘Disability Community’ that struggled and worked assiduously for the establishment of the National Commission for People With Disabilities (PWDs).
While we commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the establishment of the Commission, we implore the government to bridge the gap in the composition of the Governing Council. We observed that some PWD Clusters, like the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), a Marginalized Cluster, were not considered in the appointment.
We need a fair balance in the operation of the Commission and therefore advise the Governing Council to ensure that there is proper inclusion of all the Clusters especially those that were excluded in its composition.
We also use this opportunity to call on all the States and Local governments to replicate the establishment of this Commission by creating functional offices that should be manned by the different PWD Clusters at their levels, to effectively deal with the challenges facing the PWDs.
We commend the Lagos State Government that had already established the LASODA, the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs which can be equated with a State Commission and other States like Plateau and Nassarawa.
The Disability Clusters recognized by Lagos State are:
-Spinal Cord Injuries.
– Hearing Impaired.
– Leprosy Healed.
– Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (e.g. Downsyndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus and other Developmental disabilities).
Lastly, we are imploring the Federal Government to include the PWDs in the Social Investment Programs. Since the emergence of Covid-19 Pandemic, there had been no distribution of any Federal Government Palliative, either Food or Cash to the PWDs in Lagos State especially to the IDD Cluster whose members, the Children, are the most Vulnerable in the Disability Community.
The Pandemic has adversely affected us and we urgently need Support from the government to augment the little income that we earn for sustainability.
LONG LIVE NIGERIA
LONG LIVE PWD
LONG LIVE IDD.
Mrs Joko Dawodu Omotola
Association for intellectual and Developmental Disabilities of Nigeria.