Stakeholders under the auspices of Federal Nigeria Society For The Blind (FNSB), have called for support for projects of visually impaired persons to boost their welfare and national integration.
Chairman, White Cane Safety Day, Mrs. Ayopeju Njideaka, who made the call at Oshodi, Lagos, said such support will go a long way in breaking barriers affecting visually impaired persons.
She said: “ While we all pray for perfect sight, no one is 100 per cent assured of this gift, as we are all prone to visual impairment, either through accident, diseases or other ailments.
“White Cane has become a symbol of freedom, independence, and confidence. A visually impaired person who is able to use the cane effectively can accomplish his/her daily tasks with ease.”
Speaking, Chairman of Executive Council of FNSB, Mr. Fusi Akinkugbe, said the society is committed to empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of visually impaired persons.
“The visually impaired persons have used canes as mobility tools for centuries. But it was not until after World War I that the white cane was introduced.
The use of white canes by visually impaired persons in Nigeria may be traced to the early 1950s when rehabilitation of visually impaired persons began at the School for the Blind in Gindiri near Jos, Plateau State.
“This was about two years before the birth of the FNSB in 1955. FNSB then founded the Vocational Training Centre for the Blind (VTCB), Oshodi, Lagos State in 1956.”
Akinkugbe said that FNSB advocacy and awareness on 2022 White Cane Safety Day are in line with Sustainable Development Goal 10, which aims to reduce Inequalities. This SDG seeks to reduce inequalities caused by all forms of disabilities.
In his remarks, Principal of FNSB , Mr. Gilbert Chigozie Asogwa, appealed to parents to bring their visually impaired wards to the schools to be empowered .
He added that mobility training, particularly the use of the white cane, was a cornerstone in the VTCB’s rehabilitation programme for the visually impaired.