LAGOS State government on Wednesday promised to ensure that people with disabilities (PWDs) in the state enjoy meaningful life through continuous exploration of available avenues for such realisation.
Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Mr Hakeem Muri-Okunola, has, however, sought the cooperation of all members of the public in achieving a Lagos free of discrimination against these set of individuals in their quest to access public facilities and use public transportation.
Muri-Okunola, who disclosed this at a stakeholders meeting with officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government in the transportation sector and other stakeholders at Alausa Ikeja.
According to him, the state government has been engaging relevant stakeholders in a bid to further give meaningful life to PWDs and will continue to engage others whose actions would impact the lives of this category of people.
Muri-Okuola said one of the ultimate intentions of government was to reduce or totally put an end to the rate at which PWDs depended on family members for assistance all the time.
“The benefits of making mobility easier and more comfortable and accessible for PWDs are immense. For instance, there is hardly any family in Nigeria that does not have at least one PWD member and if such member is not able to move about easily, he becomes dependent on other members for his livelihood, and this can be a burden on individuals,” he said.
The permanent secretary also explained that it was government’s sincere belief that, if accorded all the rights and privileges with an enabling environment, PWDs could be highly resourceful.
The General Manager of LASODA, Dr Babatunde Awelenje, who also addressed participants at the event, said that the essence of the gathering was borne out of government’s quest to integrate PWDs into the society regardless of the forms of their disabilities.
He said government had observed that one of the major challenges confronting PWDs was accessibility to public transportation, saying that was why government had taken it upon itself to continuously sensitise relevant stakeholders.
“In addressing this situation, the buy-in of private individuals and bodies like the NURTW is very important,” he added.