The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has called on the governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode to direct relevant agencies of government, to conduct an audit of all the toilet facilities in public places in Lagos State and ensure that they are accessible to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the state.
The Executive Director of CCD, Mr. David Anyaele, who made the call while briefing newsmen on the outcome of a survey conducted by the Centre to ascertain the level of access to toilet facilities in public buildings for Persons with Disabilities in Lagos State.
The ED, who hinted that the research was conducted in two local government areas in Lagos State – Ifako-Ijaye and Alimosho – revealed that 47 toilet facilities spread across the local government areas were assessed.
He stated that women with disabilities are the most vulnerable in the state.
Report of the research suggested that there were no separate toilets for PWDs, absence of elevators, lifts with voice-calls or attendants for PWDs, sufficient Directional Maps/Signs as well as absence of facility guides in some of the places visited.
Mr. David Anyaele stated that the need for improved sanitation for PWDs in the state is not negotiable at a time the country is posed with various strange diseases like Monkey Pox, linked to poor sanitation habit.
Citing various international treaties and national laws that make adequate provision for Access for PWDs to include – Article 9:1 of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, sections 24 and 25 (5) of the Lagos State Special People’s Law, sections 4 and 5 of Part 3 the 2016 pending disability bill, among others, Mr. David noted that improved sanitation can reduce spread of various diseases like malaria, cholera, typhoid, diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis, Monkeypox and Ebola which account for a significant percentage of morbidity and mortality in the country.
He listed various measures to be adopted by both state and non-state actors to include- Lagos State Government to conduct audit of all public toilet facilities to appreciate its accessibility to persons with disabilities in line with Lagos State Special Peoples Law; to take appropriate measures to ensure public toilets in the state are accessible persons with disabilities and the need for operators of public toilets in the state should take necessary steps to ensure that persons with disabilities have unhindered access to public toilet. This is to ensure total compliance to the Lagos State Special peoples’ Law.
On her part, a physically challenged lady, Susan Ihuoma, who is the Assistant Secretary National Association of Physically Challenged Persons (Lagos State Chapter), narrated her ordeal each time she tries to gain access to a toilet facility in public domain. In her words, “The truth is that this situation is more difficult on women, as a woman with disability, I try not to eat or drink before leaving my house everyday even during my days as a student, due to the fact that restrooms are not disability friendly in most places in Lagos State; the most challenging part is that the facilities that house these restrooms are mostly not accessible to PWDs, this is really sad.
“It may interest you to know that Our Organization, The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) is an organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote disability rights, social inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in development activities. It also works to support, educate and empower persons with disabilities and their families to maximise their potential.”