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Persons with disabilities kick against misappropriation of N500m disability fund

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People living with disabilities in Lagos state have alleged gross misappropriation and lack of transparency in the process of administering the 500 Million Naira disability fund established by the Lagos State Special People’s Law (SPL) seven years ago, for the purpose of advancing the cause of PWDs in the state.

They have consequently called on the state governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, to intervene urgently in what they termed “gross misappropriation of fund,” currently ongoing in the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA).

Dr Adebukola Adebayo, the Lagos state Chairman of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD), made the call while speaking on behalf of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in Lagos, last week.

Dr Adebayo while speaking at a press conference on the plight of PWDs in Lagos stated that over 2.5 million PWDs have been denied their rights as the N500 million Annual Disability Fund, established by Lagos State Special People’s Law (SPL) seven years ago for the purpose of advancing the cause of PWDs in the state has been grossly misappropriated.

She noted that lack of transparency in the process of administering the 500 Million Naira disability fund has further worsened poverty and exclusion in the community, adding that other interventions for PWDs in the state, such as Empowerment and Social Security Support Funds are yet to be given to beneficiaries.

“Some of the eligible beneficiaries of the 100,000 and 50,000 naira empowerment and social security support fund are yet to receive the fund till now, despite that LASODA claimed to have spent 10 Million Naira on that already. There are other instances where monies have been approved to PWDs, but after the public announcement and token shared before the media, nothing is ever heard again.

“For example, the 12 Million Naira given to select PWDs present at the one-day with the Governor in December 2020 was not given to all beneficiaries, or at least LASODA has not been account for how it shared out the money to the attendees. While some attendees got N100, 000 thousand each, some were given N50, 000 and some did not receive anything,” Dr Adebayo said.

She added that, “having submitted petitions to the Lagos State Government at different times without any response or action, JONAPWD Lagos, and different disability clusters, we therefore, demand that Governor Sanwoolu should constitute the LASODA Governing Board with all disability clusters represented in order to give direction and inclusiveness in the management of the Agency and avoid the mismanagement of funds.”

Also the association demands that the Governor ensures the immediate disbursement of unpaid 100,000 Naira and 50,000 Naira empowerment and social security support fund respectively to all beneficiaries, as well as put an end to favouritism in allocating funds to specific disability clusters, which have led to the marginalization of some disability groups in the state.

According to the association, failure of the government to meet these demands within the next 14 days, would force the association to embark on protests till something happens.

 

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