The federal government has, again, reiterated absolute commitment to protecting rights of people living with disabilities PLWDs, especially their inclusion in governance and social development.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, stated this yesterday in Abuja during a press briefing to mark the International Day of Sign Languages and International Week of the Deaf.
Farouq assured that the ministry will continue to work with the deaf and all persons with disabilities to ensure their rights, inclusion and participation in the society are given utmost priority, even as she enjoined Nigerians to learn to learn sign languages; “in order for communication with our deaf relatives to be made easier”.
She said: “The International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated every year since 2017, alongside International Week of the Deaf IWD, which is 21st to 26th September, 2020. The theme for this year is ‘Reaffirming Deaf People’s Human Rights’ for the International Week of the Deaf and ‘Sign Languages are for Everyone’ for the International Day of Sign Languages.
“The purpose of the International Day of Sign Languages, among others, is to promote linguistic identity and culture of deaf people all over the world. This year’s theme, therefore, is very apt and we join the Nigeria National Association and the World Federation to re-emphasise these rights and to say that Nigeria Sign Language is for everyone.
“The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development will continue to work with the deaf and all persons with disabilities to ensure their rights, inclusion and participation in the society are given utmost priority. It is in realisation of this that we have been in the forefront to ensure the Nigeria Disability Commission is established and function to assuage the yearning and aspirations of all persons with disabilities in Nigeria.
“Let me assure you all once again, the Federal Government through the Ministry will leave no stone unturned to ensure that all persons with disabilities in Nigeria are carried along in governance by removing all barriers that hitherto, poses hindrance for effective functioning of persons with disabilities.
“Today is a remarkable day, once again reaffirming the rights of the deaf and the promotion of their language, I enjoined all to join in the celebration and learn to sign, so communication can be made easier for our brothers and sisters who are deaf.”
Also speaking, while express gratitude to the federal government for efforts made so far in catering for the welfare of disabled people, the Secretary General Nigeria’s National Association of the Deaf, Mr. Chidi Topaz Oluije, implored the minister to pay more attention to issues affecting the association, including sending a delegation to an event organised by the association next week.
“We thank you so much for working with us in reaffirming the rights of disabled people in Nigeria. The WHO says we have more than 10m deaf people. It shows there is need to have a sign language for easy communication with everyone, whether normal or disabled.
“We need the partnership of the ministry in all our activities. I also want to use this medium to beg the minister to send someone from the ministry to an event we are holding next week so that we will continue to feel among and be carried along,” he said.