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PWDs Confront FG Over Absence Of Sign Language Interpreters On National TVs

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By Matthew Ogune, Abuja

Persons Living With Disabilities (PWDs) under the auspices of Centre for Citizen’s with Disabilities (CCD) yesterday confronted the federal government to request for the full employment of Sign Language Interpreters in Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).

CCD Executive Director, David Anyaele who led a team of delegation to confront the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed worried that the implementation of section 2 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 has remained a challenge in the country despite the endless cry by PWDs.

According to Anyaele, the Act provides that the Federal Ministry of Information shall make provisions for promotion of awareness regarding the rights, respect, and dignity of persons with disabilities as well as the capabilities, achievements, and contributions of persons with disabilities to the society.

His words: “We are requesting for the full employment of Sign Language Interpreters in Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).

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“We observed that during the pick of Covid-19, NTA was using the SLI for their 7am news which enhances access to news and information to the Deaf Community. However, our findings shows that the SLI are yet to be employed as staff of NTA, and their services and participation during news broadcasts has diminished.

“We are also calling that you use your good office to ensure that the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission includes the use of Sign Language Interpreters in all television news as a policy of the State. This will serve as a direct commitment for the full implementation of the Act by the Ministry.

“Section 28 and 29 of the National Disability Act provides for right to work and opportunity for employment. In fact, section 29 provides that all employers of labour in public organisations shall as much as possible have person with disabilities constituting at least 5 percent of their employment.

“We are requesting that you use your influence to ensure that an audit of your Ministry Staff strength is conducted to ensure that 5 percent of the Staff capacity of your Ministry is reserved for citizens with disabilities.”

The director stressed the need for PWDs to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Information to build the capacity of Senior Ministry officials on the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

Adding that the exercise will enhance the full implementation of the Act and service delivery of the Ministry on persons with disabilities.

He further requested the partnership with the Ministry as the community plans a National Summit on Persons with Disabilities, explaining that the summit is expected to be held in the second quarter of the year, with participants drawn from the 36 States of the Federation.

Responding, Mohammed who urged other television stations to employ sign language interpreters for their programs, promised to assist the community in areas of advocacy to ensure the full implementation of the provisions contained in the Act.

The Minister noted that the government will continue to collaborate with PWDs to promote the imperatives in the Act, adding that directives would go out to all television stations to comply with the disability Act.

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