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Association of the Deaf members

Group advocates official adoption of sign language in public interactions

Association of the Deaf  members
Association of the Deaf members

AGENE GODWIN, Benin

The Association of the Deaf has called on both the Federal Government and state governments to make the use of sign language compulsory at all public functions. They also want sign language to be used in all programs aired on local and national television stations in the country.

The association added that this has become necessary because the deaf are no longer regarded as irrelevant in the society as education has changed their status.

Addressing members of the association as part of the 2015 International Week of the Deaf, the National President of the association, Alhaji Suleiman Dagbo said the deaf are also stakeholders in the society.

“Sign language is the language of the deaf; the media must be active in promoting its usage because it is the only way deaf people feel a sense of belonging in the society”.

“Many of us can now read and write, we have acquired skills in the professions and we want to be included in the scheme of things at local, state and national government levels”.

Dagbo said the theme of this year’s event which is “deaf rights: a panacea towards achieving the change agenda”, was chosen by the World federation of the Deaf, which instituted the annual event.

Alhaji Dagbo used the event to commend the Eddo state government for providing learning aids at the State School for the deaf in Benin City and the recent employment of more teachers for the school.

He said the association is however unhappy that the deaf are not part of the policy making organ of governments while there is no provision for the deaf in employment into the civil service.

The Edo state chairman of the association Mr Ekhorutomwen Iyobosa said members were eager to be empowered as many have acquired skills in areas that will drive societal growth.

He said the purpose of the week of the deaf was to, “draw the attention of government, politicians, parents and the general public to the challenges facing the deaf”.

“We want parents to bring out their deaf children from hiding and the society to stop discriminating against the deaf because we are no longer charity cases”.

Iyobosa said the association was disappointed at the attitude of the state government in refusing to acknowledge letters requesting courtesy visits arguing that, “we have a stake in the government and cannot be ignored”.

Meanwhile a deaf mother Mrs Agatha Chinwe Ugwu Olaniyi has called on security agencies to be more pro-active in safeguarding the lives of women with disabilities.

She said this is because they are more prone to violence against women and girls such as trafficking, sexual molestation, and domestic abuses compared with their able counterparts.

She called on governments at all levels to ensure that the messages of the annual day for the elimination of violence against women is not just orchestrated but acted upon.

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