The Lagos State Government has urged the Executives of Joint National Association of Persons Living with Disabilities (JONAPWD), to continue to engage government by bringing the needs of their members to the front burner and ensure that the interest of PLWDs is always given priority.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola disclosed this recently while inaugurating the newly elected executives of JONAPWD, Lagos State Chapter, at Alausa, Ikeja, calling on the new executives to support the policy of inclusiveness by Governor AkinwunmiAmbode by giving the present administration maximum support.
Muri-Okunola stated that the inauguration of the new executive committee by the state government underscore the need to have a platform in place where PLWDs can come together and harmonize their needs by coming up with useful suggestions for government to fashion out favorable policies and programmes for the greater majority.
According to him,“As the new Exco are sworn-in today, I urge you to see yourself as one without rancor or rivalry among the different cluster groups that make up the Association.”
“I want you to see this as a rare opportunity to serve and as a platform to test your ability to manage both human and material resources in preparation for higher responsibilities in the nearest future.”
While urging the new Executives to see themselves as people with abilities, Muri-Okunola disclosed that their abilities would further be proven with new appointment as they would soon be called upon to chair some decision making bodies.
The Permanent Secretary maintained that the state government has already played the lead in protecting the interest of PLWDs by putting them into consideration in on-going rehabilitation works across the State, special provision for them in BRT buses, earmarking of parking spaces among others, charging corporate organizations and others to follow same.
Similarly, the State Government, through the Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) has organised and commenced Three-Day training on sign language for selected officers from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in order to reduce the communication gap between staff and those with deafness or hearing impairment among general public.
The General Manager of LASODA, Dr. Babatunde Awelenje, who declared the training session open today, said that the intention of the State Government was to spread the training to other members of the public including people at the grassroots in a bid to strategically bridge the communication gap and limit the discrimination between the physically challenged persons and the general public.
He noted that the peculiarity of the challenge of those suffering from deafness and hearing impairment was quite different from other forms of disabilities due to the verbal communication challenge, stressing that NGOs and corporate organizations could key into the laudable intention of government for needful collaborations.