Sanwo-Olu expands disability group in governance
…earmarks N500m in 2021 to address PLWDS’ challenges
Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and his wife, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday, hosted People Living With Disabilities (PLWDS) at State House, Marina, where he announced instant plan to bring in more disability groups into government, in response to requests by the PLWDS.
The governor also disclosed that his administration has instituted a N500 million Disability Fund in the 2021 budget to further empower PLWDS in the state.
The interactive session was jointly organised by the state ministries of youth and social development, information and strategy and office of disabilities, and offered the special needs people a golden opportunity to intimate the governor with various challenges facing their clusters.
Rendition of songs of praise by the choir of Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children relaxed atmosphere for a productive discussion they had with the governor.
Representatives of each cluster spoke their minds on challenges limiting their members to cope with day-to-day activities, top among which are employment and inclusive education. The PLWDS offered suggestions on how the government could make life better for them.
An assistant director of programmes at the Lagos State-owned Traffic Radio, Victor Oteri, who represented a cluster of visually impaired persons, hailed Sanwo-Olu for creating time for the PLWDS amid challenges facing the State, noting that the governor had devoted time and resources to the weakest people in the society.
Oteri called for an increment in the employment ratio dedicated to PLWDS in public and corporate organisations in the State from two to five per cent, while urging the state government to equip Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) to fully enforce the Special People Law of 2011, which mandated all public and private business establishments in Lagos to absorb physically challenged persons.
Israel Akiode, who represented dwarf cluster and also representing the PLWDS in Lagos chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), made a case for an appointment of a senior special assistant to the governor on PLWDS, which would serve as a link between the clusters and the governor.
Chairman of Association for the Blind, Babatunde Mohammed, praised Lagos government for creating education access for the cluster but said the current integrated education model had segregated the visually impaired persons.
Women leader, Lagos State Association of the Deaf, Yemisi Alabi, drew the governor’s attention to the discrimination against PLWDS in the healthcare sector, noting that LASODA certificates issued by the government were not being honoured in the general hospitals.
Responding to the issues raised, Sanwo-Olu instantly approved some of the demands of the PLWDS and promised to implement others in the course of time. He reiterated his administration’s readiness to empower the PLWDS and give them a sense of belonging in ’Greater Lagos’ project.