The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities (NCPWDs) says it has engaged 15 sign language interpreters to bridge communication gap for the benefit of persons with hearing loss or impairments.
Mr Lawrence Idemudia, Director of Social Intergration NCPWDs said this on Thursday in Abuja during a panel discussion at a One day Disability Forum to commemorate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2022.
The forum themed: “Transformative Solutions for Inclusive Development:The role of innovation in fuelling on Accessibility and Equitable World”, organised by Center for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD).
Idemudia said that the commission was ready to partner with stakeholders and disability organisations to train and empower sign language interpreters across the country.
“In 2022 alone the NCPWDs has engaged and employed not less than 15 sign language interpreters to bridge communication gap within and outside the commission for the benefit of persons with hearing loss or impairments.
“This is in a bid to ensure the inclusion and integration of the deaf community in the society.“The NCPWDs is also looking forward to partnering with the Human Right Commission, the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Humanitarian Affairs with other stakeholders to engage more sign language interpreters, ” he said.
He said that the commission was currently working to collate the data of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) across the country in order to carry out its programs and plans.
Idemudia said that without accurate and efficient data, it would be difficult tfor the commission to carry out its programs for the general benefits of PWDs.
“We are currently collating data of PWDs and we nee more staff across the country to help with the data collation process.
“We currently lack adequate staff for this process, and where we have declared vacancies for employment, we have been denied autonomy to employ on our own as a commission.
“But we hope that the next budget would give better room and provision for engagement and employment.“However, we call on stakeholders to visit our official websites and provide accurate data to the commission,” he said.
Mrs Irene Ewa, the representative of the Ministry of Women Affairs lauded the initiative of the group to engage stakeholders to share ideas and proffer solutions on ways to ensure implementation of the disability law.
She also called for partnership in the area of advocacy and mass sensitization.
Mrs Grace Mama, Disability Desk Officer, National Orientation Agency (NOA) lauded he initiative of the group to engage stakeholders on the provisions and workability of the contents of the National Disability Act.Mama said that the agency was at the forefront in championing awareness creation and sensitization of the content of the law in spite limited budget.
“NOA has been implementing the disability programs in spite lack of adequate budget for awareness creation and other mandates.
“However, the agency will continue to mainstream PWDs issues and would not relent in ensuring that everyone is carried along in its plans and programmes regardless of disability status,” she said.
Mrs Josephine Onwudowe, representative of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said that the commission was currently in partnership with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to deploy corps members with proficiency in sign language interpretations to the commission.
This she said was to ensure availability of sign language interpreters for engagement within and outside the commission for the benefits of those it affected.
Mr Garba Mogagi, a representative of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, said that the ministry as the surpervisory body of the national disability commission was working to ensure the smooth implementation of the national disability act.
Mogagi said that part of the ministry’s effort brought about the law and the establishment of the commission adding that the ministry was still working to ensure full integration of PWDs.
“The Humanitarian Affairs is currently doing a lot to ensure that the provisions of the National Disability Act is being implemented in terms of social empowerment through skill acquisition for PWDS to boost self reliance and financial independence,” he said.
Mr Vincent Uchechukwu, representative of the Ministry of Aviation called for training and retraining of the capacities of stakeholders, line Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) across the country to boost knowledge on the content of the disability laws and ways of effective implementation.