The Lagos State Chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) in collaboration with Hope Inspired Foundation for Youths and Women with Disabilities (HIFWY) and the Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP), has developed Disability Frameworks for Local Government Authorities in Lagos State, with the aim of enhancing disability inclusion at the community levels.
The framework, which was supported by the Disability Rights Fund (DRF), was validated by stakeholders within the disability community to ensure that it captures the specific interests of all disability clusters.
While speaking at the validation session, the Chairman of JONAPWD Lagos, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, explained that the Disability Framework “has been developed in order to complement ongoing efforts by the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), to strengthen the capacity of the 57 LGAs and LCDAs in mainstreaming disability inclusion in their operations, policies and programs.”
Dr. Adebayo explained that the Framework was developed in line with relevant provisions of the Lagos State Special People’s Law (LSSPL), Lagos State Local Government Law, the Nigeria Disability Act of 2018, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
He said, “the key goal of this Lagos State Local Government Disability Framework is the achievement of the rights of persons with disabilities to disability-inclusive communities in Lagos State through effective mainstreaming of disability inclusion in the constitutional functions of Local Government Councils.”
The JONAPWD Chairman explained that “the Lagos State Government enacted a Disability Law (The Special People’s Law SPL) in June 2011 and established the Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) in July 2012. The SPL does not make any provisions to mandate Local Government Councils to ensure disability inclusion in their functions, policies, and programs.
“However, LASODA has been making efforts to sensitize Local Government Councils on the purpose and use of the SPL. As at August 2023, none of the 57 Local Government Councils and Local Council Development Areas have put in place any institutional and policy frameworks to promote disability inclusion.
“Only two LCDAs (Lagos Island (East) and Isolo) each have a PWD as an appointed Special Adviser on Disability, and an elected Councillor respectively. In the absence of a documented institutional and policy framework on disability inclusion, most of the Local Government Councils only try to make charitable efforts of providing empowerment tokens to PWDs within their jurisdiction.”
Adebayo however expressed optimism that the Disability Framework would help LGAs to provide social services such as early child rehabilitation and support services, primary health care services, basic education, community-based adult rehabilitation services, micro and small-scale business and economic support services, family and elderly support services, etc.
Ejiro Sharon Okotie, the Executive Director of HIFWY, who was represented by Maria Kazeem, the PRO of HIFWY, also emphasized the need for LGAs and LCDAs across Lagos State to adopt the framework to ensure that disability inclusion is mainstreamed in all spheres of activities.
Participants at the event which included representatives across Disability Clusters in Lagos State agreed that the LGAs and LCDAs should put in place a Framework for regulating persons with disabilities in their domains; work in conjunction with Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) to provide efficient and effective services delivery to the disability community in Lagos State at the grassroots level to relieve the burden of depending too much on LASODA.
Various clusters describe the pathetic conditions of living in their Local Government Councils whereas little or nothing tangible is being done to ensure PWDs enjoy better living conditions.
They all agreed that all LGAs should start best practices as obtained universally by mainstreaming disability inclusion at the grassroots level.