Stakeholders of sign language users, the Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), the Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria (ASLIN) and Lionheart Ability Leaders International Foundation (LALIF), have called for an annual allocation of the national budget to advocacy efforts aimed at the full recognition and implementation of Nigerian Sign Language as a second lingua franca in the nation under the auspices of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWD).
The stakeholders made the call in a press conference on Thursday 24th August 2023, urging the federal government of Nigeria to sign the national policy on Nigerian Sign Language (NSL) into law, adding that the language can be employed as a second language alongside English for the conduct of all public functions and can be inculcated into the primary school curriculum and teaching-learning practices in all schools.
INN reports that Nigeria has over 9 million Nigerians who are Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and Deafblind. The project was supported by Disability Rights Fund.
INN also reports that sign language can be used by all and sundry as this will enhance easy access to information and the freedom of expression for citizens who are Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and Deaf-blind. It will also make communication with these individuals easy for their hearing peers, accord them access to education, health and other social services and enable the development of their potentials for self-actualization and societal growth and development.
The stakeholders at the conference also called for employment of Deaf interpreters and the interpreters of the Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing and Deafblind be given priority by both the government and private sectors in Nigeria.
“We want sign language interpretations and/or closed captioning on both government and private television stations and at all government functions throughout the nation for the benefit of the Deaf community.” They said.