Deputy Gov. Idiat Adebule of Lagos on Sunday urged corporate organisations, religious bodies and well-meaning citizens to support the state government in making life more meaningful for persons with special needs.
Adebule made the appeal at the celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PLWD), organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Education.
The United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities is held on Dec. 3 annually to focus on issues that affect people with disabilities worldwide.
The theme of this year’s commemoration is ”Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”.
She said that assistance to persons living with disabilities would help them to surmount obstacles, reach the pinnacle of their careers and assume places of prominence in the society.
”The state government is aware of the United Nations statistics, that over three million persons in Lagos are living with one form of disability or the other.
”This is why I am making this clarion call so that you can join hands with the government to eradicate poverty.
“Ensure zero hunger, good health, quality education and reduce inequality as it affects our special people in the state, ” she said.
Also speaking, the Wife of the state Governor, Mrs Bolanle Ambode, said that it was important to promote and integrate the physically challenged to be a happy part of the larger society.
Ambode said that PLWD would contribute much to the socio-economic development of the country, if given encouragement and enabling environment
She urged PLWD to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the state government for persons with special needs to realise their dreams and potential.
In his remarks, Mr Adesina Odeyemi, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Lagos State, said that there were 47 special and inclusive education schools and units in the state to provide education and skills for the physically challenged.
Odeyemi urged the public to embrace PLWDs with empathy rather than sympathy.
”Parents who have these children hidden at home are encouraged to ebroll them at any of these special schools and units.
”It is only through exposure, that is, early identification and intervention that their problems can be alleviated, so they can be useful to themselves and the society, ” he said.