Assist visually impaired Nigerians with braille materials, don urges govt.

Dr. Jacob Agba, an Associate Professor at the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) on Tuesday appealed to government at all levels to assist visually impaired Nigerians with braille materials.

Agba who is visually impaired made the appeal in Calabar during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in commemoration of the World Braille Day.

Braille is a tactile writing system on a special type of raised paper with code based on 12 dots while the 12 dots were placed in rows of 66.

He said braille was what bridged the gap in literacy between the visually impaired and the sighted people.

The lecturer said that without the use of braille, a visually impaired person could not read on his own.

“The problem is that the technology used in producing braille was quite expensive, requires a lot of energy and was slow as the braille machine itself cost over N200,000

“Even though we have screen readers these days in computers, braille is the one you can use at any time of the day without making noise.

“Today, we have braille embosser that can translate text typed in the computer to braille, however, that mechanism costs about N2 million with the current exchange rate.

“Apart from few Non-Governmental Organisations, most people have not seen the need to empower visually impaired people. That needs to change.

“I provide most of the things I need for myself and I also want to appreciate CRUTECH for providing me with a braille machine,” Agba said.

He said that visually impaired persons should try and learn how to use braille as it would help them learn better.

World Braille Day is observed every year on Jan. 4 in memory of Louis Braille, the inventor of the Braille script who was born on Jan. 4, 1809. (NAN)