By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
Executive Secretary National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Mr. James David Lalu has said that Sign Language communication is very central to the lives of the Deaf and Hard of hearing.
The ES made this disclosure recently during a parley with the Authorities of Federal University of Lafia, in Lafia, Nassarawa State.
He said, “Sign language communication gives the Deaf the ability to connect to the world, and it is our resolve in the Commission to connect the school with experts for more studies and research in various fields of Disabilities studies, especially on sign language communication.”
Lalu further related that the Commission will establish a uniform module of Sign language communication to be used all over the country which he said differs in different parts of the world.
He disclosed that a memorandum is already
with the Federal Executive Council awaiting approval in order to vest Sign language communication as the second linquafranca in Nigeria.
“Sign language communication has taken a central dimension that it has prompted the federal government to mandate the Commission to employ about 200 sign Language interpreters who will be deployed to different MDAs especially the Judiciary, Institutions of leaning and the Media”
While appreciating the school for establishing the Department of Special Education, the ES pledged the willingness of the Commission to partner with the institution in all fasciae in order to improve the lives of Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.
He however, opined that the Department would inspire more considerations and attract more integrated courses prepared for academic studies if it is transformed to Centre for Disability Studies which he believes is more encompassing.
Furthermore, the Executive Secretary divulged that he has involved interests from California State University, United States of America to partner with FULafia to appraise the curriculum of the school and mobilize resources for more programmes, especially on Sign language Communication and interpretation.
“Collaboration with other Nigerian Universities such as University of Jos will be quite invaluable as this will attract exchange of programmes and ideas which will make provisions for other necessary technical assistance” He revealed.
Lalu also promised that in no distant time, the Commission will interface with TETfund to access Special Education Intervention grant in order to equip the school in building more disability friendly facilities.
“Our collaboration with FULafia will create opportunities for research and attracts Development experts both locally and internationally for grants and resources to deepen disability education in our school system”
The ES also called for the review of policy administration of the school towards accommodating the needs of Persons with Disabilities which will see that the school gives admissions to the right individuals with disabilities and to employ qualified PWDs putting Sections 28 and 29 of the Disability Act into perception.
In his response, the Vice Chancellor of the University Professor Shehu Abdul Rahman said that the school is delighted to welcome the interest of the Commission to partner with the Institution to establish Center for Disability Studies for the North Central Geo Political Zone.
He further expressed willingness to adhere strictly on 5 percent employment opportunities for PWDs and disclosed that two non-academic and one academic PWDs have already been engaged by the school.
He expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari led administration for the establishment of the Commission and for the choice of David Lalu whom he described as the right bolt in the right hovel as the Executive Secretary of the of Commission.