The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in partnership with Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) has validated the draft abridged versions of the Lagos State Disability Law in Yoruba language and Pidgin.
RoLAC is funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council.
The validation meeting, which took place in Lagos, had in attendance some media professionals who are proficient in Yoruba language and Pidgin English as well as Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs).
Mr David Anyaele, Executive Director, CCD, said that it was important to validate the law and ensure its implementation and accessibility to reduce discrimination and other harmful practices against PWDs.
According to him, the CCD has been at the forefront of ensuring that the rights of Persons Living with disabilities are safeguarded.
He said that the law was established in June 2011, among agencies in the state.
Anyaele said a report by CCD in 2020 showed that ministries, departments, and agencies responsible for implementation of the law, were not doing enough in this direction.
He called for the full implementation of the law in all agencies the state, saying that the move would improve the lives of people with disabilities in every sense.
“This is exactly 10 years that we secured the passage of the Lagos State Special People’s Law.
“The law which establishes the office of the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA) with the responsibility of promoting the rights and dignity of PLWDs.
“Unfortunately, the provisions of the law have not been implemented as PWDs are still suffering the same challenges, discrimination and denials,” he said.
Anyaele said CCD had secured support to ensure understanding, awareness, and appreciation of the contents of the law and for inhabitants of Lagos State, to benefit from it.
“And part of the activities include; the translation of the abridged version of the law in pidgin English and Yoruba language.
“The essence is to ensure accessibility, understanding and usage of the law for the welfare of more than two million Lagos citizens living with disability.
“After the validation, we are going to package the document, prepare it in a clean manner and print it in good quantity, and distribute to people with disability and other citizens.
“We will equally upload it on our website so that those who want, can download it and read,” Anyaele said.
Mr Olutoya Oyewole, Director, Monitoring, Evaluation and Orientation, LASODA, said the importance of the gathering was to ensure that the law got to the grassroots.
“The law has been enacted since 2011 and many could not access it because they were not literate enough to read the content of that law.
“But, with this copy that is being considered for Pidgin and English, these people will now be able to know and access their rights,’’ he said
Also speaking, Mr Oluwayinka Isaac, a member of the Nigeria Association of the Blind, said the essence of the exercise was to make the law simpler and comprehensible to PWDs and the public.
Isaac said the overall motive was to make the Nigerian society disability friendly, and to give PWDs knowledge about their rights, irrespective of their educational background.
“We are trying to bring the law down to everybody. If you speak Yoruba or pidgin English, you will be able to understand, digest and implement the law.
“To be included in what is happening in the society has been a big challenge for PWDs.
“People do not see us as part of the society, as if it is the making of our own to have physical disabilities,” Isaac said. (NAN)