Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has unveiled plans to employ 250 Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) into the mainstream of the State and Local Government service.
Also, in furtherance of his promise to run an all-inclusive government, Gov. Ambode empowered over 2,000 PWDs with various assistive technologies, mobility aids and financial grants in order to facilitate their contributions to the socio-economic development of Lagos State.
The various items distributed to the selected beneficiaries include:
- 1 Hyundai 30-Seater bus for Pacelli School for the visually impaired/Blind, Surulere, Lagos.
- 1 Hyundai 12-Seater mini bus for Joint National Association of Persons Living With Disabilities (Lagos State Chapter).
- 1 Index Express Embosser with Duxbury Braille for Nigerian Society for the Blind.
- 350 wheel chairs presented to persons with spinal cord injury.
- 25 computer sets and Laptops to persons with hearing impairment.
- 500 white canes presented to persons with visual impairment.
- 10 Accessible Desktop Computers with Jaws Screen Reader.
- 20 Tactile Metric Sets.
- 100 Taylor Frames.
More so, 10 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) dealing with issues of disability in the state were billed to receive N500,000 each as grants while 500 PWDs will also receive N100,000 each as financial empowerment.
Ambode had on May 29, 2016, set up the Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) Empowerment Fund with N500 million for their welfare.
While presenting the various items at a recent ceremony in Lagos, Governor Ambode said the Disability Trust Fund (DTF) and different empowerment programmes for PWDs was in fulfilment of his electoral promise to make life worth living for the physically challenged and support them in realizing their dreams.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr (Mrs) Idiat Adebule, Ambode explained that the gesture was aimed at moving away from the charitable model of empowerment to a model that would make PWDs self-reliant and wealth creators.
He urged other physically challenged bodies and individuals who were not captured in the first phase of the gesture to be calm and show understanding with the state government, adding that more beneficiaries would be captured in the future.
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Ambode called on corporate organisations and well-meaning individuals to partner with the state government by contributing generously to the fund to ensure continuity of the initiative.
He also urged the PLWDs to be strong, make judicious use of the items and funds, work hard and be dedicated to their enterprises. According to him, their success will go a long way in changing the perception of those who are skeptical about their abilities.
In her welcome address, the State Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf said that the gesture would go a long way in enhancing the productivity of this category of persons.
Akinbile-Yusuf maintained that in line with the social inclusion policy of the state government, the Akinwunmi Ambode administration would continue to ensure that the rights of PLWDs were protected and promoted through relevant policies and programmes.
While noting that the gesture of the state government had assisted in reducing the menace of street begging in Lagos, the commissioner urged the beneficiaries to see the empowerment as an opportunity to break away from the shackle of poverty by making judicious use of the grants and other assistive aids provided for them.
“Beneficiaries of this gesture of the state government must imbibe the spirit of giving and contributing to society and see themselves as instruments of positive change,” she said.
The General Manager of the Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs (LASODA), Dr Waheed Oki also commended Governor Ambode for his care for the PLWDs. Oki said that it was a practical demonstration of an all-inclusive government.