The Lagos State Chapter of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) has reiterated the need for disability-inclusion strategies as a key step towards ensuring that youths with disabilities are not left out in the development programs of the State Government.

This was contained in the Association’s Position Paper presented to the State’s Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Olusegun Daudu when the JONAPWD State Chairman, Dr. Adebukola Adebayo led a four-man delegation of the Association’s members on an advocacy visit to the Ministry in Alausa.

The Commissioner who was joined by the Permanent Secretary and other top officials of the Ministry of Youth and Social Development to receive the JONAPWD delegation, appreciated the visit; assuring that the State Government would not relent in ensuring that persons with disabilities are prioritized in all policies and programs of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration.

Dr. Adebayo in his remarks, lauded the Ministry and the State government for making visible efforts towards protecting and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities in Lagos State.

Adebayo however observed that youth with disabilities were still lagging behind as beneficiaries of the very robust Lagos State Youth Policy and programs.

While presenting the position paper, he enumerated some of the challenges of persons with disabilities in noting that there are, “Absence of social support and rehabilitational services for PWDs (especially children) and their families at local and community levels and where such exist, there is very low level of awareness due to lack of adequate information about such.

“High unemployment levels among youths with disabilities and lack of appropriate platforms for promoting talents among young persons with disabilities in the ICT, Entertainment and sports sectors.”

The State’s JONAPWD Chair however recommended that, “the Ministry should support the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) to organize Annual Disability Summit to harvest ideas and set agenda for disability-inclusion in the State Government’s development programs

“The Ministry should strongly consider the integration of Disability Support and Resource Centres within its existing Social Service Centres in all the LGAs and LCDAs.

“The Ministry should encourage and mobilize the private sector to employ qualified persons with disabilities.

“The Ministry should, in line with the youth policy, facilitate political participation for youths with disabilities by ensuring appointment of one person with disability as Supervisory Counselor in all the LGAs and LCDAs in the State.”

The Association also passionately requested the Ministry to sustain the granting of subvention to the Association and other functional disability groups in the State.

Responding, the Commissioner promised to address the requests tendered by JONAPWD and assured the Association that its doors remained open to persons with disabilities; noting that the Ministry would be happy to strengthen its partnership with JONAPWD.

The Commissioner also advised the Association to strengthen its collaboration with LASODA especially in its engagement with other Agencies of government.

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