Deaf women in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, have called on the Federal Government, FG, to ensure equal rights for People With Disabilities, PWDs, including providing employment opportunities as well as political representation at federal, state and local levels.
This was even as they specifically called on FG to consider it a developmental process by ensuring sign language interpreters and signages are found in public places.
The Executive director of Ability Plus Initiative, API, Janet Fasakin, made these demands, weekend, during a humanitarian intervention outreach to the deaf community, organised by women’s rights and transformation advocate, Comrade Abiodun Ozurumba, in Abuja.
The donations, consisting of food materials and clothings, were also sponsored by the founder, Mental Health with Ditty Foundation, Adedotun Esan, among others, geared towards extending care to PWDs during the Yuletide season.
Fasakin said: “Our major challenge is communication. No interpreter in hospital, no interpreter on television to pass news and more. Another issue is lack of employment for our members, no empowerment tools for those who had hand skills. Like tailoring, hairdresser and so on.
“We want total inclusion of the deaf people in all the government sectors. We want the government to intervene and give our deaf graduates a job. We want the government to provide interpreters for us in hospitals and other sectors.”
On her part, Ozurumba, while bemoaning the state of PWDs in the country, beseeched the government at all levels, including well meaning Nigerians to, in this Yuletide season, extend care to those in need.
Her words: “I pray that the federal government is able, in due time, to look critically into the concerns of persons living with disabilities in this country. Yes, we now have S.A to the President on disabilities. Yes, we now have some bills passed concerning the disabilities but I think there’s quite a lot to be done.
“I came into this deaf community to interact with them and spend my Christmas with them, but you can perceive the huge challenge in interaction, the huge challenge of friendship with those that are not in that community.”
She, therefore, called on concerned authorities to take appropriate steps in promoting and recognizing sign language as a lingua franca in Nigeria to reduce the gap between the deaf community and the larger society.
Corroborating, the Women Leader, Abuja Association of the Deaf Women, Hosea Jumai, said: “The government should employ graduates, particularly persons with disabilities. They should support some NGOs that provide the needs of PWDs to reduce them from becoming victims in the area of violence because most women stay in violent areas and homes due to the fact that they can’t take care of themselves. The government should empower non graduates PWDs women with equipment to enable them earn a living.”
Equally, Akunna Njoku, while thanking the benefactors for the materials donated, said: “The government needs to keep doing more to empower especially women and girls who are PWD because it will go a long way in meeting our daily basic needs.