People With Disabilities (PWDs) in Lagos State have called for adequate enforcement of the law enacted for their welfare, to save them from suffering.
They made the call on Wednesday at a training for leaders of PWDs, claiming that they did not receive special attention they needed especially in public buildings, hospitals and transport stations.
The weeklong training was organised by the Rule of law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) Programme, a British Council project, funded by the European Union.
A representative of the Spinal Cord Injury Association, Mr Obok Akome, advocated easy access to public buildings, offices and bus stops, and requested for assistants to PWDs into public buildings.
Akome also called for special care for PWDs by health workers in hospitals.
Mr Akujor Israel advocated on behalf of the Dwarf Association for jobs and good health care facilities, while the physically challenged persons called for building of bungalow as schools for them.
He claimed that the one per cent employment quota reserved for the physically challenged was being taken over by able bodied persons, calling on the government to intervene.
Miss Opeyemi Adewale, who spoke for the visually impaired, called for more schools for the blind, employment for them and increased announcements of bus stops in public buses.
Miss Grace Adeosun said on behalf of people with albinism, that the government should check discrimination and harmful treatment against them.
She called for free and special health care for them due to the nature of their skin.
She also advocated more employment for them, saying that many of them were educated but discriminated against in job offers due to their colour.
The Coordinator of RoLAC in Lagos State, Mrs Ajibola Ajimakiwa, said that the training was for seven disability cluster groups in the state.
She said the groups include the physically challenged, Spinal Cord Injuries Association, People with Albinism, Deaf Association, Blind Association, Intellectual Disability Group and the Dwarf Association.
“The training is to enhance capacities for enforcement of the Protection Against Domestic Violence Law, Child’s Rights’ Law and Special Persons Law of Lagos State.
“The purpose of the training is to ensure a greater level of awareness among persons with disabilities about relevant laws and protection offered, and support advocacy to legislators and relevant stakeholders for effective implementation of these laws.
“Persons with disabilities face staggering rights violation issues including sexual violence.
“Persons who are blind, deaf, autistic or living with physical or intellectual disability are most vulnerable to all forms of violence.
“Many PWDs are not aware of the Special Persons Law, Protection Against Domestic Violence Law and the Child’s Rights’ Law, and they are more vulnerable to violence than those without disabilities,” she said.
One of the facilitators, Mr David Anyanle, said the training availed the participants the opportunity of knowing the importance of Lagos State special laws.
Anyanle said that 80 per cent of the participants, including leaders, did not understand the contents of the law.
“It will be difficult for the leaders to assist members when they don’t know their rights.
“The training is for them to understand the law and use it to promote the welfare of their members. This is the first time the leaders are attending such a training.
“At the end of the training, the participants should understand key advocacy issues that concern their groups.
“They should also identify key government agencies that deals with their Issues and time frame to get whatever their needs may be,” he said.
A Deputy Director in Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), Mr Oguntoye Oyewole, thanked the British Council for the training.
Oyewole said that the training would help the participants to secure justice, as the state government was committed to enforcing the laws.
“LASODA is working to enforce all the provisions of the laws concerning the PWDs,” he said.
Edited by Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)