By Uchediunor Augusta
In commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the passage of the Lagos State Special People’s Law, the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has unveiled the Abridged version of the law in Yoruba and Pidgin.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that The Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs [LASODA] was established by the Lagos State Special People’s Law [LSSPL] of June 2011 to implement the law.
The Lagos State Special People’s Law seeks to uphold the rights of all persons living with any form of disability [PWDs] in Lagos State by safeguarding them against all forms of discrimination and giving them equal rights and opportunities.
Speaking at the event, Mr Akintunde Oguntoye, Director, Monitoring Evaluation and Orientation, LASODA, commended the CCD for putting the abridged law into Yoruba and Pidgin as it would carry everybody especially the special people along.
Oguntoye said that though the law had been in existence for 10 years, many people were still ignorant of it and as such, the abridged versions were timely.
Mrs Philomena Nneji, Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Lagos State Branch, said that the special peoples law affects Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) positively.
According to her, the translation of the abridged versions into Yoruba and Pidgin English would make more people have a wider understanding of it.
“The law will bring massive awareness to the people that there is now a law on ground that can be leveraged on to access justice.
“So many people are not literate enough to read the former law but with the translation into Yoruba and Pidgin, it is a good step.
“The law will definitely yield positive things because so many people at the grassroots will not be literate enough to read the main law.
“Now that the law is translated into Yoruba language, it is a beautiful plus and also into Pidgin English, it is a good step.
“People who cannot read the big grammar in English will now understand the law,” Nneji said.
The FIDA chairperson also said that more awareness is required for people to understand the plight of those with disabilities not just the law.
Miss Oluwafunmilayo Mobolaji, Publicity Secretary, Lagos State Spinal Cord Injury, called on Lagos State and Local Government Areas authorities to make the roads accessible for people with disabilities.
Mobolaji said that LASODA should be in every local government to help people with the disability.
Mr David Anyaele, Executive Director, CCD, said that the Yoruba and Pidgin English versions of the Abridged version of the Special Peoples Law will help to create wider awareness of the rights of PWDs as stipulated by the law.
He said that PWDs are widely recognised as vulnerable members of society who suffer discrimination, stigmatisation, deprivation; denial of rights and exclusion.
According to him, many do not know their rights.
He noted that access to public buildings and services constitute one of the major highlighted challenges confronting PWDs in Lagos State.
“There are environmental, institutional and attitudinal barriers as well.
“Most communities do not have disability-friendly social amenities that give room for functional independence and full social integration of PWDs.
“Poorly designed physical environments exclude PWDs from participating fully in mainstream society.
“Creating intervention is possible through legislation, research, policy changes, capacity building, and technological developments leading to accessible design of the built environment and transport system.
“This is not to mention more accessible healthcare, rehabilitation, education and support services as well as greater opportunities for work and employment for persons with disabilities”.
According to him, the same law set up Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA) in 2011.
“LASODA is charged with the responsibility of implementing and enforcing the Lagos State disability law.
“LASODA needs to be strengthened,” Anyaele said (NAN)