…Says sign language interpreters, signages in public places important
By Ezra Ukanwa
In a bid drive rights of women with disabilities in Nigeria, particularly in the area of Sexual and Reproductive Health Right, a group: Deaf Women Association of Nigeria, DWAN, has beseeched the Federal Government, FG, to begin review of Disability Act.
This was even as the group specifically called on FG to consider it a developmental process by ensuring sign language interpreters and signages are found in public places.
Speaking with Journalists during its 13th Annual General Meeting cum National Deaf Women Summit, in Abuja, the National President, DWAN, Hellen Anurika Beyioku-Alase, bemoaned the discrimination, gender-based violence and poor access to medical facilities as a result of communication gaps.
She said: “Discrimination, gender-based violence and poor access remain big snares against us. Till date, our members and deaf women in general face violence and subjugation from men, discrimination in employment, zero/poor access to health care, education, public women-centered policies which can better the life of less-privileged deaf women hidden everywhere in the nation. We are compassed about but we shall not be discouraged.
“We see a future where deaf women are liberated and empowered to live with dignity and excel in their chosen paths towards achieving equality for deaf women in all spheres of human endeavour.
“For this to become a reality, we sincerely crave the support of government and non-governmental organisations including health care facilities, schools, religious leaders, business owners and the like across the nation in creating an inclusive community for our deaf women through the provision of sign language interpreters in all activities and signages at public places.
“We also call for a review of the Disability Act to give recognition to women. Society can no longer ignore the lot of the deaf woman. Our disability is not inability and what a man can do, a woman can do even better.”
She, therefore, stated that the AGM summit would create massive awareness as well as build capacity and establish synergy with relevant organisations to address the issues of marginalisation, among other forms of discrimination.
On her part, National Secretary General, NSG, Damilare Olakulehin, while stating that the government must step into the matters of PWDs, stated that the National Assembly should as a matter of urgency ensure that deaf women are rightly represented.
Commending the President Mohammadu Buhari for assenting to the Disability Law, Olakulehin said that the review of the disability Act has become imperative due to the fact that many organisations have not started to adhere to what the law entails.
“The reason why we need a review is because many organizations have not followed what is in that law and the disability bill supports access to health care services. Show me which one hospital has a sign language interpreter in Nigeria.
“They also gave slots for employment for persons with disabilities so the review of this bill would force every agency of government to implement what is in that law. For example in America, they have the power to sue those that does not have a sign language interpreter but in Nigeria there is nothing of such”, she bemoaned.