• Friday, June 21, 2024
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78% of people living with disability experience different difficulties in accessing services

78% of people living with disability experience different difficulties in accessing services

Finding from the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) study has shown that 78% of surveyed people living with disability (PWDs) reported that they had experienced different difficulties in accessing services in many public spaces/places such as line MDAs buildings, banks and other spaces for the last one year in Lagos.

David Anyaele, executive director, CCD, made the disclosure at the public presentation of a disability report: ‘Our Lagos, Our Disability Report 2020: An Assessment of Compliance by Public/Private Institutions on Lagos State Disability Law’.

Anyaele, said that persons with disabilities (PWDs) have generally been recognised as vulnerable members of the society and have consequently suffered discrimination, stigmatisation, denial of their rights and exclusion from the state planning and development.

“This challenges is evident as the issue of accessibility to public buildings and services have been highlighted as a challenge for PWDs in a research report titled: “Enhancing Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities in Lagos”.

He said that the sampling procedures for the survey incorporated 65 respondents survey employing snowballing and purposive sampling, 10 key informant interviews and three focused group discussions.

Read also:Sanwo-Olu expands disability group in governance

The key informant interviewees (KIIs) included LASODA officials, Line MDAs Offcials – Ministries of Health, Education, Youth and Social Development, Works Infrastructure as well as Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs/NGOs).

Also 27 persons with disabilities across five clusters participated in the focused group discussion (FGDs) in six LGs selected from the state’s three senatorial districts.

According to him, findings a show that majority of the line MDAs officials do not even know about the provisions of the Lagos State Special Peoples Law (LSSPL)

“The main focus of this meeting is to make it public, findings of our study, the preliminary report on `Our Lagos, Our Disability Report 2020’.`CCD with support from Ford Foundation is monitoring compliance of private and public institutions to the provisions of Lagos State Special Peoples Law.

“The study also explored the challenges of the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) in implementing the law as well as the social context in which PWDs currently exist in Lagos state.

“This is the third time we are publishing this report,” he said.

Anyaele said that our findings show that line ministries, departments and agencies of Lagos State are still struggling to implement the disability law of the states.

“For instance, accessibility to public places and their services is one of the major highlighted challenges confronting PWDs in Lagos State. Many of them are facing numerous environmental, institutional and attitudinal barriers in accessing public buildings, private institutions and their public services.

“The current study, which was done this 2020, showed that many of the ministries do not understand their roles and responsibilities. The only thing an average MDA understands about the implementation is ramp and we are saying, implementation beyond ramp or access beyond ramp,” he said.

He added also that discrimination is pervasive against persons with disabilities that are working in Lagos State noting that even in government institutions, officials treat people with disabilities with this disdain and it is a worrisome situation for people with disabilities who are working in government offices.

The executive director CCD expressed that the major issue, with regards to addressing the challenges of PWDs, is not the absence of laws, but essentially, the enforcement and implementation of the laws.

“Our findings indicate that the Governing Board of Lagos State Office for Disabilities Affairs (LASODA) is yet to be constituted. What that means is that the Lagos state governor will struggle much more to implement policies that will benefit people with disabilities.

“However, we discovered that the Lagos State Ministry of Education is doing its best to promote inclusive education but there is a limited number of qualified teachers that can support the process.

“LASODA is struggling due to its inability to have qualified staff to handle most of their technical works. Therefore, there is limited knowledge of the law among peoples with disabilities, including the MDAS,’’ Anyaele said.

Proffering solutions, Anyaele said it is recommended that: “LASODA be prioritised adding that there should be autonomous access to the LSSPL established disability fund and not just at the discretion of the Governor (LSSPL section 17 (1,2 and 4).

“Decentralise LASODA office to the LGAs and LCDAs

“Recruit and train more staff, recommission a new Governing Board to step up operations of LASODA in ensuring compliance.

“Also intensify public enlightenment by adopting a multi-sectoral approach on the existence and provisions of LSSPL among PWDs and the general public,” he said.

Also speaking, Oluwadamilare Ogundairo, general manager of LASODA, said that LASODA was poised to be more committed in protecting the rights and potential of PWDs in the state.

“There have been several forums where the citizens interact and give feedback to government and this feedback has consistently formed improvements and progress in the governance process and inclusion in disability affairs.

“Going forward, it would be enhanced. This is because LASODA is now going to be more proactive and accessible to the people,” he said.