By Henry Uche
In a bid to prove that disability is not inability, a group of deaf persons under the aegis of Isado Omo Ajai Ventures, has launched a catfish farm at Jakande Estate, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, with five ponds, each containing about 1000 fishes.
At the launch, the Executive Director (ED) of the farm, Emmanuel Isado, and other people with disabilities, said they are not lazy but can engage in different economic activities if given the necessary support by the government and other well meaning Nigerians.
According to him, the farm was established in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) numbers 1, 2, 8 and 10. He implored the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and others to come to their aid.
“This farm is a proof that we can contribute to the economic growth, development and sustenance of Nigeria. We don’t just like the wrong notion people have about us. We appeal to the Ministry of Agriculture as well that of Wealth Creation and Employment to help us.
“We need more trainings, expansion, access to soft loans, material help, among others. We condemn in strong terms the flagrant attitude of Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA) for ignoring our invitation. This is a sign that they took us for granted and relegated us. The Lagos State government created that office because of us but I wonder why they relegated us,” he queried.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director (Fisheries), Lagos Ministry of Agriculture, Olalekan Uthman, who represented the Commissioner of Agriculture, charged the ED of the farm to make its challenges known to the ministry in writing, with a promise to attend to such challenges.
“We shall send officers to help you particularly in training and other technical support. We want you to go (in group/cooperative) to LASODA and Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment and enjoy so many benefits,” he charged.
For his part, the Chief Trade Officer from Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment, Ogbodu Olatunde, encouraged Ajai Farm to join the proposed Lagos State Catfish Association for information sharing, cross fertilisation of ideas and many more benefits.
Olatunde added that liaising with the ministry would position the farm to have access to many supports and offering from the government. “This is laudable. We have so many packages for entrepreneurs like you but you must draw closer to all relevant ministries if you must benefit more as others are,” he maintained.