The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq has urged Nigerian Persons With Disabilities to adopt the sign language as an alternative means of communication.
The Minister made the remark at the National Summit of Persons With Disabilities held in Abuja on Thursday.
While formally launching the First Edition of the National Sign Language Dictionary, Umar Farouq stated that the Dictionary will provide a harmonized and consistent understanding of signs for Persons with Disabilities, especially the Deaf, in Nigeria.
“I am pleased that the Commission has developed a National Sign Language Dictionary for Nigerians who use signing as a first language.
“As we work towards creating an inclusive environment for persons with disabilities, I encourage others to enhance their communication skills by learning and adopting sign language as an alternative means of communication.
“I further recommend and invite heads of MDAs to utilise the services provided by the Commission, especially the braille translation facility, to ensure that all Government policies and programmes are accessible for the blind”.
The Minister, who also co-launched a Disability Registration and Reporting system application, a 5-year Strategic Plan of the Commission from 2022 to 2026, an accessible website for the Commission, distribution and presentation of the National Disability Certificate in compliance with section 22 of the Disability Act, flight-friendly access at all Nigerian airports and the first ever National Health Insurance Scheme for the first 600 beneficiaries with the representative of the President and Minister of Special Duties Senator George Akume, said that the Commission is implementing strategies to assist Persons with Disabilities in the country.
She noted that President Muhammadu Buhari remains the first and only President to have elevated the disability community to federal appointments.
“With one million PWDs in our NASSCO database, we presently provide about 115,000 with monthly stipends. Additionally, I approved the enrolment of 40,000 persons with disabilities into the batch C stream of the N-Power and through the GEEP programme, over 500 PWDs received their Point of Sale machines and seed money and have since commenced their businesses.
“ These strategies are aimed at providing access, inclusion and effective communication in mediums available and understood by Persons With Disabilities to broaden their knowledge and reduce their risk to shocks”.
Umar Farouq thanked the Inspector General of Police for approving the establishment of Disability Desks in all police formations across the federation to manage and minimize discrimination against persons with disability in the country and apply relevant punitive measures to curtail violence against the Disability community.
She also thanked the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Disability, Hon. Princess Miriam Onuaha for moving a motion for the domestication of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which provides a global perspective to the National Disability Act.
Among the dignitaries who celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities with the Commission are the Minister of Women Affairs Dame Pauline Tallen, Representative of the Emir of Gusau, the Founder of Kpakpando Foundation Senator Osita Izunaso, former governor of Nasarawa state and Chairman Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Senator Umaru Tanko Al- Makura, Chairman of the Governing Council Dr Hussaini Suleiman Kangiwa, representatives from ECOWAS, the Governing Council of the Commission for PWDs, Sight Savers Foundation and many members of the PWD community.