‘We have reached out to about 6000 PWDs in Lagos’



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‘We have reached out to about 6000 PWDs in Lagos’

Dr Adebukola Adebayo, Lagos State Chairman of JONAPID, in this interview with DORCAS EGEDE talks about life under lockdown for PWDs and the distribution of palliatives so far.



How is life under lockdown?

I don’t have any problem with the lockdown. The only problem I have is the problem of my people. They are vulnerable and need support. They need relief materials more. We have been making some headway but it hasn’t got to where we want it. At least, we’ve been getting something from the Lagos State government and our various private partners.



Many of your association members say they are yet to receive any palliative.

As at Thursday last week, we had reached about 6,000 PWDs. I can say that with facts and figures. But you will agree with me that that’s just about a drop in the ocean when compared to over 2million PWDs that we have in the state. So, I want to appeal to our people. It is not all PWDs that cannot fend for themselves. I’m a person with disability, some of us are salary earners, and some of us work with government. We can’t rule out the fact that some of us are comfortable. I have had to give money to some of our colleagues that I know are not very okay. That you’re a PWD does not mean that you can’t also help if you have the capacity to. Disability does not mean inability, like we always say. Cobhams is a person with disability, but is he poor? I don’t also see myself as poor and I try to support some of our colleagues that are not as comfortable as I am. We PWDs must also take responsibility.

What we are trying to do is organise relief materials coming from the government and our private partners and pass it to colleagues that we know are more vulnerable. We have been able to reach 6000 people from the 20 Local Government Areas in Lagos. The last set of distribution was done with the Ministry of Agriculture in six LGAs: Epe, Badagry, Apapa, Ibeju-Lekki, Eti-Osa and Somolu.

Of course, we still have shortfalls. A lot of people are still calling. We have close to 2million PWDs in Lagos and just giving roughly 6,000 food palliatives is like a drop in the ocean. Our partner NGOs are still giving, some are still on the field.

Is it safe to assume that the 6,000 people you have reached so far are those in really critical condition among you?

Absolutely. Under our umbrella body which I chair, we have 10 disability groups, and through these disability associations, we reach out to the most vulnerable among us, those we know cannot really help themselves, those who don’t have jobs, or any means of livelihood. We reach out to these ones and try as much as possible to be fair in the way these things are distributed. The distribution cannot be perfect, but we will try our best because we have not been in this situation before. We try to appeal and guide the government to give us more of these relief materials.

Are you working with a complete data of persons living with disability in the state or only distributing to card carrying members?

As I speak with you, I have over 500 messages on my phone and WhatsApp, with their names and other details, which we send to the government agency in charge. So, we are not just basing it on the registered members alone.

We are trying to review our strategy. Giving food items is a bit hectic, so we are trying to encourage the use of money, which we have already started. Ibile foundation gave about 20 PWDs N7,500 each and that didn’t cause so much headache unlike food distribution. Also, none of the food materials cost up to N7500. So, you can give so much with so little stress.

This whole idea of giving food should only be for those who request for it. And they should have food points in every ward like INEC does when distributing voting materials.

‘We have reached out to about 6000 PWDs in Lagos’

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