From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Nigeria National Association of the Deaf (NNAD) has called on the Federal Government (FG) to adopt sign language as the second official language in the country.
The National President of the association, Dr Chidi Oluchi, who spoke through an interpreter, Dagbo Usman-Doma made the call at a press conference held on Thursday in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital.
According to him, the call became necessary due to the challenges Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs), especially the deaf face, especially when the want to communicate with other persons.
Oluchi said that the recognition of the sign language as the second lingua-franca would immensely benefit persons with disabilities and address communication barrier.
“We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, leaders and members of National Assembly, ministers, as well as other stakeholders to assist us and ensure that sign language is recognised as second official language.
“By so doing, it will give us a sense of belonging and will ensure proper inclusion of over 9 million of our members across the country in governance,” he said.
The president of the association also said that the adoption of sign language as the second official language in the country would also improve the image of the country before the international community.
He explained that it was also in line with the United Nation’s Convention and the goals four and 10 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure quality education and reduce inequality.
According to him, as part efforts to achieve their objectives, the group formed a coalition with the Association of Sign Language Interpreters in Nigeria (ASLIN) and others in 2022 to create awareness on the importance of sign language.
He, however, commended the various media organisations especially television stations that are using sign language to interpret their news items or programmes for viewers, even as he called on them to continue to support them.
The Voice reports that the association is presently in Lafia for an Annual General Meeting (AGM) to mark its golden jubilee and members in attendance cut across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
The Voice also reports that NNAD is a non-profit organisation with a vision of an inclusive society where the deaf are fully integrated, with equality of opportunities and participation.