By Henry Gabriel

The Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has boosted the Class on Television programme run by Abia State Government with the provision of three sign language interpreters.

The interpreters will now participate actively in the programme to ensure equal access to education for Abians with disabilities, and deaf persons in particular.

The provision of the interpreters by CCD followed outrage within Abia State Disability Community on the exclusion of persons with disabilities in the Class on Radio Programme through the none use of State television Station with Sign Language Interpreter for the benefit of the deaf.

Also, there was a request by the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) Abia State Chapter for CCD to support them with a Sign Language Interpreter for the Class on Television programme in the State.

It was gathered that CCD provided the interpreters after the permission of Abia State Commission for Education and Director General, Abia State Broadcasting Corporation (BCA) to support the State with Sign Language Interpreters for Class on Television programme.

The support is in line with CCD’s mandate, which include to protect, promote and safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities and promote public enlightenment in civic education, human rights and public policy; To initiate, implement programmes, policies and activities geared toward promotion and enhancement of the welfare of persons with disabilities.

Abia State government created innovative education Radio Class program on Broadcasting Corporation of Abia (BCA) to keep students and their parents busy during the period of the lockdown as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.

“We understand that it is part of Abia State government efforts to ensure that the academics of our highflying school children do not suffer much from the pandemic and its associated social disruptions, as Abia State has been on the lead in WEAC Examination result in Nigeria for 3 years now. The Radio Class program was designed to assist in keeping school children busy and abreast of their academics pending the resumption of normal classes,” the Executive Director, CCD, David O. Anyaele, said in a statement.

Anyaele said that Coronavirus pandemic has hindered school children from access to education occasioned by the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus in Abia State as such this Radio Class program on BCA Radio is a welcome development.

However, he said that implementing the programme without consideration to persons with disabilities, in particular persons with hearing impairment was disheartening, an indirect statement that Abians with disabilities’ education does not matter.

“This informed our support to Abia State government and person with hearing impairment in particular with Sign Language Interpreters to ensure no one is left behind in the State education system by reason of his or her disability,” Anyaele added.

CCD is the foremost organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote disability rights, independent living and inclusive society, free from discrimination and exclusion on the grounds of disability.

“This we do through campaign, advocacy, capacity building and public sensitization of critical issues of concern to persons with disabilities and their families. CCD’s work is spread across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. We have over the past 15 years work to reduce inequalities among disability communities in Nigeria through engagement of policymakers at the Federal and State level which led to the passage of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 and Lagos State Special Peoples Law 2010,” Anyaele added.

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