Traditional head of Otumara Community in the Lagos Mainland Local Government of Lagos state, High Chief Kehinde Kalejaiye has called on the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu to protect the dignity of Persons with Disabilities in the state.
According to the traditional head, Persons with Disabilities should be given an unfettered access to basic needs of life including unhindered rights to education, health and affordable housing.
Kalejaiye, while commemorating the 2021 International Day for Persons with Disability, stressed the need for the Lagos State Government to prioritize the welfare of Persons with Disability and protect them from stigmatization.
He said, “Through the State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), the Lagos State government is striving to raise the standard of living of these special Persons but a lot still needs to be done especially in the areas of protection of dignity and stigmatization against Persons with disabilities.
We have seen, especially in Lagos State, situations whereby people with disabilities are used as tools for alms begging and victims of ritual killings.
Many of these special people despite their special status, are thoroughbred professionals and graduates of good academic standing but they are denied employment opportunities therefore are forced into street begging from where they fall preys to ritual killings.
Also in politics, we have seen not many special people standing for elective positions and being appointed as either commissioners and special advisers except in few cases in Lagos State.
There is need for Inclusiveness of persons with disabilities.
They needed to be availed sterling opportunities in the areas of education, empowerment, wealth creation, health, agriculture and financial aids.
This, among other things, would boost their self-sufficiency and deter those that are in the habit of alms begging from such inglorious acts.
From available statistics, many of these special persons are not documented while majority of them have no access to education and basic amenities including free access to quality health care services.
Apart from the creation of disability desks, I am appealing to Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu to empower the local government areas across the state to cater for the needs of people living with disabilities.
This can be achieved through a bill by the state House of Assembly aimed at empowering the local government to carry out the responsibilities of catering for the people living with disabilities with all the resources needed for the assignment given to them by the state.
As the world marks International Day for Persons With Disabilities, I am imploring Lagos state government and government at all levels to, as a matter of urgency, see to the needs of these set of people for the sake of humanity and our collective wellbeing.”
To achieve this, Kalejaiye called for the establishment of disability desks that would see to the inclusion of Persons Living With Disabilities in governance across the state.
He stated that this would ensure that all matters relating to them are promptly addressed and forwarded to the appropriate authorities with adequate protection of their rights and privileges.