The Akwa Ibom Government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, has distributed special phones and white canes worth millions of naira to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in the state.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Ini Adiakpan, who made the distribution on Wednesday in Uyo, said it was in commemoration of the 2022 International White Cane Day to sensitise the people to the significance of white canes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)) reports that the event, organised by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, has the theme, “Fright White Cane”.
She said that the event was intended to make our people fully aware of the significance of white canes and the need for motorists to exercise special care for blind persons carrying white canes.
“The white cane in our society is a mobility tool and symbol of a blind person’s ability to conquer mobility challenges and invite special reconsideration to the blind on our streets and highways.
“It is quite apt and timely that the theme is Fright White Cane and the mission today is also targeted on how the blind and visually impaired can live, move around and walk independently while giving back to their communities,” she said.
The commissioner said that all forms of barriers, stigmatisation and discrimination against the blind must be removed.
Adiakpan added that the celebration was on the achievements and successes attained by the blind people in the state over the years.
She said the effort of the ministry had given hope to many blinds in the state as the blind had been well educated beyond barriers, adding that blindness did not impede achievement.
She warned the blinds against aggressive behaviour due to their impairment.
Adiakpan called on them to think beyond their impediment and self-pity as many people were also facing different challenges but still living happily.
The commissioner said that the visually impaired persons were trained on how to use the special phones given to them.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman, Nigerian Association of the Blind, Akwa Ibom chapter, Mr Ubong Ben, commended the government for supporting persons with impaired vision across the state.
Ben thanked Gov. Udom Emmanuel for appointing one of them into the state civil service and for empowering blind students in universities.