The community of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWD) in Lagos state has pleaded with the Lagos state Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo Olu to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) to drive both the disability-focused and the multi-sectoral interventions of disability inclusion and access in the state.
Making this plea in a press release signed by the state chairman of JONAPWD, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo and made available to BONews, the group called for the empowerment of LASODA to help improve the welfare of People living with disability in the state.
The release is in commemoration of the 2019 International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), themed ‘Promoting the Participation of Persons with Disabilities and their Leadership
Disclosing that the enactment of the Special People’s law has helped to improve inclusion and access of persons with disabilities in some critical sectors, Adebayo however pointed that despite the achievements, the attainment of a disability-inclusive Lagos State was still very farfetched as hundreds of children living with disabilities were still unable to go to school.
“The enactment of the Special People’s law has helped to improve inclusion and access of persons with disabilities in some critical sectors including education through the nearly 50 inclusive and special primary and secondary schools; public transport through the wheelchair accessible BRT buses and the free services they render to PWDs; employment in the civil service; empowerment of thousands of PWDs through the Disability Empowerment Fund; and the attainment of reasonable accommodation in public infrastructure like government office buildings, pedestrian bridges, road, sidewalks, etc.
“A reasonable level of awareness has also been achieved in the state through continuous public engagements at various levels.
“Despite these achievements, the attainment of a disability-inclusive Lagos State that we yearn for is still very far-fetched. As at today, Hundreds of thousands of children with disabilities in Lagos state are still unable to go to school because the Inclusive Education Policy of the state government, endorsed by the Ministry of Education in 2015 has been virtually abandoned and unimplemented. Inclusive public primary and secondary schools are not enough, not adequately staffed and poorly equipped, and lack capacity to practice real and proper inclusive education.
“All public hospitals are not accessible to PWDs especially our women with disabilities; hence, the high prevalence of maternal and infant mortality among women and children with disabilities. There are no sign language interpreters for deaf persons while many health facilities are located in buildings that are not physically accessible to the wheelchair users and the blind. Public hospitals lack social workers and care-givers that can give support to PWDs whenever they need health services,” the release read.