Lagos State first Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Claudiana Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has commended Deaf Women in the State for leveraging on the global commemorational event to press home their demands on the plight of Women with Disabilities.
She insisted that Lagos State Government is committed to ensuring a more effective way to enforce the Lagos State Special People’s Law. This, according to her, is because government is determined to change the standards of living of People Living with Disabilities (PLWD) across the State.
The First Lady was represented by wife of Executive chairman, Apapa Local Government, Mrs Aderonke Adele at the event organised by Lagos State Deaf Women Association (LSDWA) in Commemoration of the International Women’s Day, with theme: #choose to challenge, on Saturday.
The Governor’s wife reiterated that “Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu places premium on an ‘all inclusive government’ where no one segment of the society, irrespective of gender, colour, race, faith, status, ability or disability is left behind.”
She added that no effort must be spared in giving equal opportunities to People living with disabilities in order to help them to compete well with able-bodied people.
Earlier in her welcome speech, the chairman of LSDWA, Yemisi Alabi noted that “the plethora of unwelcome circumstances affecting women in life needs to be challenged. We can’t just ignore these challenges as if nothing is happening.”
She listed Gender based violence, violence and discrimination against women and girls with disabilities etc, as one of these challenges.
According to Mrs. Alabi, Women with Disabilities, most especially Deaf women, are most vulnerable, owing to their inability to hear and lack of awareness of their inherent rights as women.”
In her speech, a civil servant with Lagos state Government, Okocha Idayat Olaoti asserted that “Disability should not prevent women from being happy and leading a normal life”.
She added that “With the daunting negative effect of the covid-19 global pandemic, the plight of women folk – especially those with disabilities have been worsened. We must therefore choose to challenge the ugly trends women are subjected to; the fight begins with the choice we make for our own peace and happiness”.
Deaf public health educator and social worker, Agatha Ugwu-Olaniyi spoke on Gender Based Violence and violence against women and girls with Disabilities.
She noted the unusually disadvantaged situation of Deaf women and girls in that they are most vulnerable to gender based violence, a situation underpinned by barriers they experience in everyday life activities like communication, difficulty in access to information (about sexuality, healthy relationship), lack of support from parents and poverty.
According to her, reporting violence experienced by Deaf women is further made difficult owing to lack of knowledge that what they are experiencing is abuse, likewise, not knowing where to go for help, unwillingness to leave an abusive relationship for lack of money and/or financial support.
While listing some forms of violence experienced by Deaf women and girls, she enjoined LASDWA to be active in combating violence against deaf women and girls in the State and set their roles to include empowering deaf women and girls to know their sexual and reproductive rights. Ugwu-olaniyi also canvassed for initiatives to secure these vulnerable women, creating awareness on their fundamental human rights, safety planning, enlightening Deaf women on financial security and economic empowerment, offering counseling support groups for deaf women and other women centered collaborative services. A platform for reporting abuses to appropriate authorities and encouraging healthy parents-deaf girl child relationships was also suggested by the public health expert.
During the health talk delivered by Executive Director, Desire Health Inclusive Organization, Mrs. Adejoke Opeyemi-Ogungbire, she urged women with disabilities to choose to challenge any negativity against their health as women, adding that women are caregivers and mothers of the society.
Present at the event were the Surulere Local Government Chairman, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf Ajide, South West representative, NCPWD, Hon. Busuyi Omopariola, LASODA General Manager, Mr. Oluwadamilare Ogundairo, represented by Assistant Director, (medical rehabilitation, mobility aids and appliances) Adesina Christiana Aina, Speaking Fingers Network convener, Treasure Uchegbu, Olalekan Mohammed of JONAPWD (Ogun State), Lagos State Deaf Association Chairman, Issa Ahmed Usman and former chairman, Alhaji Lukman Agbagbiaka.
Below are some photos from the event