By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
As part of measures to achieve the implementation of Lagos State Special People’s Law 2011, Persons With Disabilities, PWD, has stressed the need to isolate and identify the various relevant stakeholders involved towards the implementation of the law.
The Special People’s Law, which was first passed by the State House of Assembly on June 21, 2012 and assented to by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) in Ikeja, on June 24, 2011 has generated so much concerns over its implementation because it is a law that would safeguard people living with disabilities against all forms of discrimination and equalize their opportunities in all aspect of living in the society.
Speaking at a three-day workshop held in Lekki, Lagos, the Chairman, Governing Board of Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA), Mrs Tolulope Animashaun expressed confidence over the implementation of the special people’s law, noting that LASODA had been established to properly implement the Special People’s Law which was passed to champion the cause of PWD.
“LASODA’s functions are clearly stated in the law and include amongst others: conducting an advocacy campaign to sensitize the public and re-orientate their attitude towards PWD, conducting a registration/certification exercise so that only genuine cases will be able to benefit from the law. Also part of our function is to liaise with all the government agencies that can impact upon the lives of PWD” she added.
Organizations present at the workshop included Lagos Civil Society Organization Partnership (LACSOP), Lagos Civil Society Disability Policy Partnership (LCSDPP), Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA), Department for International Development (DFID) and State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI).
LASODA’s Chairman pointed out that the challenge with the Special People’s Law is that it is in a virgin territory, noting that challenges are part of life and the Board would continue to get stronger and develop. She also acknowledged the role played by LCSDPP and SAVI since the inauguration of LASODA Board in the area of capacity building.
National President, Deaf Women Association of Nigeria (DWAN) and Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (Lagos Chapter), Mrs Beyioku Adedoyin asserted that the the workshop is a very useful tool for LASODA to start with the right foot so as to enable it effectively implement the special people law, to the benefit of all people living with disabilities in the state.
A participant who simply introduced himself as Victor Otehi noted that the setting up of LASODA by Lagos state government speaks a lot of volume on the body language of the government to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are well protected and a level playing field is provided.
Otehi, who is a broadcaster and works at Lagos Traffic Radio 96.1fm, described the workshop as revealing, empowering and a specific workshop determined to drive towards achieving establishment of the office (LASODA).
In his words: “I think the Lagos state government means well. It is now left for all that is intended and all the provisions that are in the law to be carried out. That, I believe will be done by the board and the public as well. I really feel empowered having attended the workshop. So I think that the workshop is welcomed because it helped us come up with the realization of some of the things that we need to do as an office.”
According to a Representative of the Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ade Ipaye, Emmanuel Oladipupo, said the three-day workshop has helped persons with disabilities to identify their primary and secondary stakeholders, while distinguishing various issues involved in implementing the law.
“With the facilitators and joint participants, we have been able to go deep down in identifying these issues. We have as well been able to consider the legal responsibility of Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA). The workshop is one that is highly commendable” Oladipupo stressed.
However, SAVI’s Programme- State team leader, Felix Obanubi told Vanguard that the reason for partnership support is on the conviction of the fact that in building a solid structure a foundation has to be in place, noting that the board members of LASODA were happy because the workshop helped them to come up with a strategic objective and strategy of engagement.
Obanubi explained that the workshop, amongst others, made clarification on the mandate, definitions of mission/vision and core value of LASODA, adding that the Board can now examine stakeholders analysis and come up with strategic result.