DWAI seeks media support for inclusion

Deaf Women Aloud Initiative,(DWAI) a Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) has sought the support from citizens especially the media in propagating inclusiveness for the deaf community across   the country.

Its Executive Director Hellen Beyioku-Alase, made the appeal in Abuja during a one day workshop it organised for the media with support from Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (RoLAC) and MariesStopes Nigeria tagged “Deaf Inclusive Reporting” to commemorate the international week of the deaf people and international sign language.

Hellen lauded the federal government for signing the Nigeria Disability Act and United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which made it mandatory for all state organisations, government and non-government including Media, to recognize the rights of persons with disabilities.

She however,lamented that PWD’s rights as contained in the Act are yet to be implemented in Nigeria, recalling that during lockdown vital information were passed without the consideration of inclusion as interpreters were not engaged.

“This is held to highlight the importance of embracing and recognising the Deaf culture and sign-language as well as improving on services delivery for the Deaf community, to challenge the perception about Deaf people in Nigeria.

“It also aims to promote the positive aspect of Deafness and campaign for better accessibility and reporting by giving people a better understanding of the impact and helping Deaf people to ensure they feel involved, engaged, and supported and are not at disadvantage in everyday situations that hearing people take for granted,” she explained.

“We want everyone to unite in endorsement of the need to secure and promote the human rights of deaf people as well as reaffirming your support for full participation with sign-language for equitable and Inclusion,” she stressed.

Martha Aga also of DWAI, explained that in Nigeria, discrimination against deaf persons is huge, stressing that it is wrong that people use derogatory terminologies to describe the deaf.

She further suggested that captioning could be used with bold letters which are easy to read during media broadcast, or have interpreters that can assist especially when there are relevant issues to be communicated as there is an association of sign language in Nigeria which can be consulted for this.

Mr Ayoade Beyioku-Alase, an educationist while speaking on the predicament deaf persons go through as sometimes when speaking to people in public they feel they are pretending or want to kidnap them.

“People need to be receptive to deaf persons as they reciprocate the attitude that are being showed them, it is wrong to say deaf people are aggressive as this is a misinterpretation,” he said.