By Olabode Adeyeri
The Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs has organised the Year 2020 Sensitisation Programme on Special Children with Disabilities tagged ‘Caring for Special Needs Children: Our Collective Obligation’. The Sensitisation programme was held on Wednesday 18th November, 2020 at the Digital Village, Ikeja, Lagos.
In his Welcome address, the Deputy Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Orientation, Mr. Akintunde Oguntoye said the Sensitisation programme was staged to honour and respect special children with disabilities (CWDs).
“The Paramount objective of the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs(LASODA) is to make life more meaningful and livable for people with Disabilities (PWDs), protect them from all forms of discrimination and ensure equity”, Oguntoye said.
“The Lagos State Government, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and indeed this administration appreciate the lives of PWDs most importantly, Special Children with disabilities and recognise the importance and contribution to the socio-economic development of the State. Everyone is important to this present government and must be given the necessary attention and encouragement to perform optimally”, Oguntoye emphasised.
While delivering his keynote address, the Commissioner of Youths and Social Development, Mr. Segun Daudu emphasised the need to support and give passionate care to children with special needs. He said “their natural phenomenon easily expose them to some inhumane treatment, abuses, discrimination, rejection, neglect, transferred aggression, abandonment among others; thus, they depend largely on their immediate society such as Parents, families, Care-givers and Government at different levels to be able to survive”.
Daudu reiterated the Lagos State Government’s commitment to care for, support, safeguard PWD and explore their potentials for self-development and actualization. He further stated that the state Special Peoples Law and Policies guarantees inclusion, equal right and opportunities and self-esteem of Persons With Disabilities.
During an exclusive interview session with Citizen NewsNG, Daudu urged the parents, Guardians and Care-givers of children with special needs and Stakeholders to work as partners and redouble their efforts towards ensuring the children live a meaningful and productive life just like their counterparts in the developed countries.
Speaking further, Daudu commended Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Leadership Style and uncommon support for the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs. He reassured the gathering of Sanwo-Olu’s unrelenting efforts to make Lagos more prosperous for all in every sector in line with the administration’s THEMES Agenda. He also appreciated the unrelenting efforts of the Management and Staff of the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) aimed at ensuring improved welfare of People With Disability in the state.
“Never would the interests of children with special needs be overlooked and never will that happened”, he emphasised.
Daudu recalled that earlier this year, the LASODA organised a Workshop and Employment programme for three hundred  Persons With Disability and their parents across the state. He said “It is our belief that Parents and Care-givers need to be empowered so that they can be positioned to meet the economic needs of these children”.
One of the Parents of Children with disabilities, Ms. Taibat Adeniji narrated the challenges associated with caring for children with special needs; “As a single mother, with a 12-year-old daughters living with cerebral pulsy, there is unbearable discrimination against my daughter in our house. oftentimes , most landlords refuses to rent out their house once they notice you have a child with disability”. “Moving around is so tasking, I had to strap her at my back because of her condition, the cost of her medication is highly expensive as there is nobody to assist. Because of my Daughter’s condition, my husband and his family abandoned us, but I’m currently working as a Temporary Teaching Staff with a school for Children with disabilities in which I also enrolled my daughter”.
Adeniji pleaded with the Lagos State Government and other well meaning Nigeria to come to her aid. “I need a permanent job so that I can take proper care of my daughter and give her the best in life”, she concluded.
A Representative of Persons With Spinal cord injury in Lagos State, Mrs. Oluwafunmilayo Mobolaji praised the State Government’s intervention for the disabled persons in the state. She however called on the State and federal governments to employ and provide more job opportunities for the disabled persons in the country.
Mobolaji urged the Government and Private Property Developers to put PWDs into consideration when constructing both private and public buildings and Infrastructures.
Dignitaries present at the occasion were the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Segun Daudu, the Deputy Director of Monitoring, Evaluation and Orientation (LASODA), Mr. Akintunde Oguntoye, Mrs. Abiola Mojisola Adu, Mr. Olufemi Babalola Ogunlaiye, Mrs. T.A Amodu, Speech Disorder and Management Therapist, Dr. (Mrs.) Remilekun Durojaiye, Physiotherapy Expert, Children with Disabilities, Parents and Guidance, Care-givers, Heads of Government Agencies and other Stakeholders.