The Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs, LASODA, has warned People Living With Disabilities, PLWDs, against any form of lawlessness and be civil.
General Manager, LASODA, Dr. Babatunde Awelenje, at an end of year news conference in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, said disability should not be used as an avenue for lawlessness, saying that the office would be engaging more in advocacy in 2018 to address the issue.
According to him, advocacy was key to correcting certain behaviours and impression, saying that “our people still need to be sensitized.”
Awelenje stated that LASODA would never subscribe or support the charity model of disability whereby PLWDs were being pitied and giving arms as a form of charity.
He also called on parents who had children with physical challenge not to hide them, but to enroll them in school so that they could acquire knowledge that would help them in the future.
Awelenje restated that advocacy would aggressively be pursued as PLWDs were still backward and needed to be sharpened.
He said the Office would also empower members through skills acquisition programmes next year
He also disclosed of plans to established coordinating offices of LASODA in the five divisions of the state to better cater for the needs of PLWDs in the state.
Meanwhile the LASODA boss disclosed that LASODA had begun the registration of PLWDs in the state and that so far, 3,000 physically challenged people had been captured in the database, saying that registration was still ongoing, while calling on those yet to be registered to come forward to do so at LASODA’s office.
He described the registration as “the first of its kind in Nigeria and West Africa” and would enable the state to “formulate policies for the welfare of PWDs.”
The exercise, he noted, is continuous. He urged individuals and organisations to participate as it was “highly beneficial.”
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, he added, had authorised the establishment of LASODA offices in each of the five divisions of the state, to make registration process easier and bring the benefits closer to PWDs.
He said: “We encourage all persons living with disability in Lagos to come forward and register with LASODA. This opens a world of benefits to them. Firstly, they will be issued a disability certificate which could be temporary or permanent depending on whether the disability exists for 180 days or more.
“They will then be issued a blue badge which enables them to park in PWD parking lots. PWDs will also be issued with identity cards with which they can board Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). This was approved by the governor.
“The registration and ID Card is free, and as for the five LASODA offices, we have received approvals from Ikorodu, Epe, Badagry and Lagos Island Local Government Areas. Alimoso is yet to give its approval.”
Awelenje thanked Ambode for the N500 million Disability Trust Fund and for recruiting 250 persons with disability earlier in the year. This, he added, are other benefits PWDs stand to gain.
“Recruitment and posting were such that they were posted to their areas of residence,” he said.
He noted that in 2018, LASODA would, among others, pay more attention to para-sports because of its potential to bring more glory to Nigeria.
He added: “Disability should not be an excuse for lawlessness. Parents should not hide their children with disability. The government, through LASODA can help empower them with special skills, especially those without formal education. They may also get grants to start a business.”