The Lagos State Chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has demanded that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu sets up an independent investigation panel to audit and investigate different allegations of misappropriation of funds perpetuated by the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA).
Dr. Adebukola Adebayo, the Chairman of JONAPWD Lagos, made the demand during a press conference on the plights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Lagos, organized by JONAPWD and all disability clusters in the state.
Dr. Adebayo who noted that the Governor is committed to addressing the plights of PWDs in the state, stressed that ignoring the demands of the disability community about auditing LASODA would continue to ridicule the commitment and investment of the Governor to guarantee inclusive development for PWDs through LASODA.
Adebayo also explained that it is imperative that the Governor constitutes a Governing board for LASODA as provided by the Lagos State Special People’s Law (SPL) “to give direction and inclusiveness in the management of the Agency and avoid the mismanagement of funds which have further led to the impoverishment of PWDs in the state.”
The JONAPWD Chair also noted that the investigation panel should put a spotlight on how funds are disbursed to beneficiaries and projects are implemented as there are numerous cases of misappropriation of funds.
He noted that an “independent audit of the agency and its managers will expose fraud and corruption in the execution of projects and non-compliance with the Lagos State Procurement law.”
Barr. Lukman Salami, the Chairman of the Nigerian Association of the Blind (NAB), also decried the non-payment of 100,000 and 50,000 Naira empowerment and social security support funds to eligible beneficiaries.
Salami appealed that the fund should be disbursed to beneficiaries as a matter of urgency.
He also highlighted the need for the practice of inclusive education to consider the academic needs of children across different clusters.
For her part, Mrs. Joko Omotola, the President of the Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (AIDDN), said the cluster has long been neglected in benefitting from different support from the Lagos State Government.
Mrs. Omotola said it is important that LASODA does the needful by ensuring the needs of all PWDs in the state are met, and not to cause any form of division among disability clusters in the state.