By Kasim Sumaina

As part of effort to curb negligence of the right of people with disability, the Deaf Community in Nigeria has advocated for the implementation of the requirement to have sign interpreters on all media platforms as provided in the Nigeria Disability Act and United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

The Executive Director of Deaf Women Aloud Initiative, Ms. Hellen Beyioku, said during an event held in Abuja to commemorate the International Week for the Deaf said the society has for long neglected the deaf community and this has left their potentials to add to the country’s economy untapped.

Beyioku disclosed that there are many deaf people on the streets who have been denied job opportunity even though they are highly brilliant and capable.

“This barrier needs to be broken because we have much to offer even though we can’t hear,” she said.

According to her, efforts should be made to ensure that information provided to the general public should be made available to the deaf in an accessible format and all official or public engagements should provide the services of sign-language interpreters to enable deaf persons to participate effectively.

She said: “We already have a right for persons with disability, this right should be implemented on all media platforms and public functions.”

Beyioku also stressed in her presentation, which focused on Deaf Inclusive Reporting, the need for deaf people to feel involved, engaged, and supported since they are not at disadvantage in everyday situations that hearing people take for granted.

She reminded her audience that the Nigeria Disability Act and United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) stipulated and mandated all state parties and organisations (government and non-government including media) across the country to recognise the rights of persons with disabilities including deaf people to access professional sign language interpretation in all facets of life and facilitate their accessibility (Art. 9); the reproductive rights (Art. 23); the right to access Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services (Art. 25); and the specific need for empowerment of women with disabilities (Art.6).

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