The Albino Foundation, in partnership with Nigeria National Association of the Deaf, NNAD and Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria, ASLIN has just concluded a press conference to push for implementation of sign language interpreting services on all television stations. The conference aimed at better inclusion for the Deaf community in information dissemination.

The press conference themed: “The need to have Sign l Language Interpreters on TV Stations” held at the Albino Foundation headquarters, Abuja, on Thursday, 21, October, 2021.

President of the Albino Foundation, Mr Jake Epelle, in his address to the gathering extended heartfelt gratitude to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on the declaration mandating NBC to order all TV stations in the country to employ sign language interpreters.

Epelle says the time has come for TV stations to carry the Deaf community along in information dissemination. He argued that the Deaf population has been left out in the area of information for too long. Epelle therefore urged stakeholders to roll up their sleeves and work on implementing this declaration.

While commending the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA for making their services inclusive, Epelle urged other TV stations to emulate NTA’s example. He enjoined these TV stations to partner with NNAD and ASLIN on the best approaches including salary structure and other needed support.

National President, NNAD, Dr. Chidi Topaz Olujie, while praising Mr. Jack Epelle for the role he played in birthing the declaration by the Government, lamented the level of marginalization and exclusion the Deaf community face in the area of language and information deprivation. He cited the example of DSTV where he pays monthly subscription like every other subscriber yet most of the channels, except for Yoruba and a few others channels lack captions.

Dr Chidi noted that enforcing the directives on having Sign Language interpreters on all TV stations will go a long way in ensuring broader access to information on education, employment, justice, health, etc.

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“Since the Minister of Information and Culture has given an order decreeing all TV stations to employ sign language interpreters on their services, we will continue to partner with the Albino Foundation to push for its implementation, and whatever policy is established becomes a law that has to be adopted and followed by all. The NBC, Minister of Information and Culture and Organizations responsible for such should expect our visit soon for more deliberations. We expect full co-operations in this regard.”

National President of ASLIN, Mr. Timothy Tinat Gwazah stressed the need to improve rewarding system by ensuring the declaration is permanent so as to effect permanent employment of sign language interpreters.

Tinat believes this can only be achieved when we have institutional responsibility. He stressed the importance of following up talk with action.

In this regard, Tinat revealed the groups’ strategic plan to follow up with an appreciation visit to the Minister to request an official letter instructing the NBC to take the lead on implementation – adding that there is a code in NBC which stipulates Sign language interpreters be provided.

Tinat urged the National Commission for Persons with Disability, NCPWD, to collaborate with the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, to ensure enforcement of this laudable scheme.

The association also revealed its plan to visit all media organizations to get them to comply with the directives or face legal action. “We hope the courts, as last hope of the common man will use a couple for a bunch so media organizations as example for others.”

Mr Tinat assured that the deaf association is there for any needed contact or information . “Of course, the Deaf have the right to decide which interpreter they want to use. We must do everything necessary to ensure interpreters are not forced on the deaf.” He said.

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