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LASG earmarks N500m for physically challenged persons’ welfare

by Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Lagos State Government has disclosed that N500 million has been earmarked in the 2021 budget to assist People living With Disabilities (PWDs) in the state.

Also, the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed plans to appoint a physically challenged person as his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to meet and address disability affairs in Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed these at an interactive session held at the State House in Marina on Wednesday, to basically offered the PWDs a golden opportunity to personally intimate the Governor with various challenges facing their clusters across the state.

The governor, after listening to representatives of each cluster of PWDs that spoke on challenges limiting their members to cope with day-to-day activities including employment and inclusive education, reiterated his administration’s readiness to empower the PWDs and give them a sense of belonging in ’Greater Lagos’ project.

At the event also attended by his wife, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the governor said the demands of the PWDs came at a better time when the state government was about to access the N500 million Disability Fund appropriated in the 2021 Budget passed on recently by the House of Assembly.

He said that the Government would be meeting with each cluster of PWDs on how to maximise the funds for the benefit of their members.

“This Christmas period presents a better time for us to host this special interactive session and felicitate with you. I deliberately asked for the event to be done at the State House, Marina, so that I can share good moments with you in the spirit of the season. We called for this engagement to hear from you, some of the challenges you are facing.

“After listening to your representatives, we now have better understanding of which intervention we need to make and where we need to improve our relationship with you. We have taken all the points raised. The N500 million Disability Fund in the 2021 Budget will be accessed next year and we will agree with all clusters on better to utilise the funds.”

The Governor said the Government would be working to ensure free quality healthcare services for the physically challenged persons in primary and secondary health institutions in the State, while also giving directive for free Coronavirus (COVID-19) test for PWDs in registered clusters.

Granting the request of the PWDs, Sanwo-Olu approved the creation of the Office of Senior Special Assistant on PWD Affairs, which would be the link between his administration and people living with disabilities.

In January, the Governor said an appointment would be made into the office, which will be domiciled at the Ministry of Youth and Social Development.

Aside from the promises made, in the spirit of Yuletide, Sanwo-Olu and his wife donated 50 wheelchairs, 170 walking sticks, 75 white canes, and 69 crutches to the clusters to assist the PWDs in mobility. About 364 persons living with disabilities benefited from the gesture.

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