The Centre for Infrastructural and Technological Advancement for the Blind (CITAB) has taken a swipe at the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu over his lack of attention for the disabled community in the state during his first 100 days in office.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the Executive Chairman of CITAB, Jolomi Fenemigho.
The CITAB boss further accused the Lagos Governor of failing to achieve any of his campaign promises for the disabled community despite chanting the mantra of inclusivity when he needed votes of the community to win the gubernatorial election last March.
According to him: “Judging from the governors 100 days record, nothing has been done or said with regard to the plight of disabled persons within Lagos state which we consider unsavory because it does not reflect commitment to his developmental agenda that was part of his 2019 electoral campaign manifesto. We recall that part of that manifesto indicated Sanwo-Olu’s agenda to include ‘…Expanding programmes for vulnerable groups like the elderly and people with living with disabilities’.
The CITAB chairman lamented over the high level of unemployment among the disabled community, adding that there were many disabled graduates roaming the streets of Lagos in search of jobs while little or nothing had been done by the new administration to alleviate their suffering.
The CITAB boss further stated that: “Recruitment into the State Government’s ministries and parastatals ought to take yearly. The last recruitment by the Lagos State Civil Service Commission from the disabled community in the state took place in 2017 under the immediate past administration but Governor Sanwo-Olu has remained mute with regard to employment for the disabled since he assumed office 100 days ago.”
According to him: “The previous administration introduced various developmental programmes for persons living with disability which they massively embraced and benefited from. It was expected that Sanwo Olu would walk in the steps of his predecessor since he claimed he would run an all-inclusive government on assumption of office.”
The CITAB boss further expressed the centre’s dissatisfaction over the poor attention paid to students with special needs in Lagos adding that majority of the public schools in the state imposed regular education on disabled students as if the authorities were unaware of their need for accessible learning environment with special learning devices such as audio books, talking calculators, braille machines, voice amplification devices, captioning video monitors and others that would boost their academic performance.
Said he: “In addition to this, special education teachers for disabled students appear to be scarce in most public schools in Lagos.”
He expressed regret that these were pending matters which the past and present government in the state had failed to address.
He further stated that: “In order to actualize Governor Sanwo Olu’s developmental agenda for disabled residents in Lagos, his administration needs to promote use of technology for them so that they can live self-reliant lives”.
He appealed to the State Government to establish accessible computer training centres equipped with the necessary gadgets for persons with disability in all the 57 local councils.
The CITAB’s boss also expressed dismay over the inaccessible state of some infrastructures in the state and called for a total reconstruction of roads, pedestrian bridges, walk-ways and side-walks for ease of access to disabled persons in the state.
According to him: “The State Government has a responsibility to renovate and install accessible features in all public structures in the state for easy access to the disabled in line with the 2010 Lagos State Special Peoples Act, which states in section24, sub-section 4: ‘The Government shall ensure that roads, side-walks, pedestrian crossing and all other facilities made for public use shall be made accessible to and usable by persons living with disability including those on wheel chairs’.
He further stated that: “The immediate past administration made a difference by prioritizing the needs and welfare of the disabled and we therefore urge the current administration to follow the foot prints of Ambode in order to work closely with various groups of the disabled through the Lagos State Office For Disability Affairs (LASODA) in order to properly implement the 2010 Lagos State Special Peoples Act.”