For National Association of Persons Living With Disabilities (NAPLWD), Lagos State chapter, there is urgent need for government to restructure the Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA). This, the association said, is necessary to address members’ education, health and other sundry issues.
NAPLWD chairman, Dare Dairo, faulted the placement of LASODA under the Ministry of Youths and Social Development: “It has become a major hindrance to the effectiveness of the office.
“Much investment has been made in the area of empowerment and provision of assistive devices to enhance the quality of living and general productivity of people living with disability in the state.”
He said the responsibilities of LASODA transcend the purview of the ministry as presently constituted because its mandate cuts across virtually all ministries and planning:
“We hereby suggest the removal of LASODA from under the ministry and situated directly under the Governor’s Office. A similar decision was taken in the past when the Lagos Aids Control Agency (LSACA), used to be under the Ministry of Health but was removed and placed under the Governor’s Office. LASODA needs this step too.”
He added that the investment could be improved upon, through clearly defined goals with the right monitoring and evaluation parameter to measure effectiveness. The group also demanded full implementation of the Special People Law 2010, signed into law in 2010 by former governor Raji Babatunde Fashola.
The law seeks to provide a comprehensive legal and policy framework for empowerment, welfare and protection of the rights of PLWD:
“Almost a decade after the signing of the disability bill into law in Lagos State, there is much yet to be done in significantly instituting a culture of inclusion in all facets of government planning, policies and programmes. Most local government authorities are not even aware of the disability law which provides comprehensive legal and policy framework for empowerment, welfare and protection of the rights of people living with disability.”
While commending Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for his bold initiative in tackling poverty and employment among its members, he also extended gratitude to his predecessors, Fashola and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu:
“Their vision, compassion and good work sustained the spirit of inclusion in Lagos that is the envy of other states. We look forward to the incoming government of Babajide Sanwo-Olu to consolidate on the gains of inclusive policies of previous administration and setting new standards.”