By David Odama
CONCERNED by the alleged disregard to Governor Abdullahi Sule’s free education policy for the physically challenged students in tertiary institutions owned by the State government, the physically challenged students in the state-owned university Keffi have cried out over non adherent to the free education by the authority of the institution alleging that they are still made to pay fees in the institution.
The physically challenged students who disclosed this in their separate submissions during a Disability Advocacy meeting organised by the office of the Directorate of Strategic Communications and Press Affairs to the Governor, at the senate chamber of the university in Keffi.
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Leading the submissions of the physically challenged students, Sunday Musa complained that the disabled students of the institution still pay fees unknowingly to the university despite the fact that disabled students studying in tertiary institutions owned by the state government have been exempted from paying frees.
Musa, however, appealed to Governor Sule to as a matter of urgency, intervene to ensure unhindered refund of the fees collected by the management of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi.
HIS words: “One other major challenge staring at our faces is the lack of interpreters in general courses. It is sad that the interpretation in our general courses to some of us involved is being carried out by a few students and they do not get to the depth of the students understanding.”
According to him, blind students find it very difficult to go to lectures and appeal to the governor to provide the blind students with the required writing materials, computer bus that will be strictly for the physically challenged students in order to facilitate their Intra campus mobility in the university.
Also speaking, Ismail Abdul lamented that out of the 15 per cent of the physically challenged in the state, seven per cent go to school but regretted that out of the number, only two per cent of them get employment with the government.
Abdul continued that the situation of the physically challenged is very pathetic as most of them come from a poor background hence the need for the government to ameliorate their plight by providing them with jobs.
He said: “We, the physically challenged persons in the state, appreciate the Governor Abdullahi Sule for declaring free education for the physically challenged where our colleagues in the neighbouring states do not have.”
“However, we wish to appeal to the state governor to keep data of all physically challenged students Preferably, a census is carried out by the state government to ascertain the exact number of the unemployed physically challenged graduates for employment by setting up a committee to that effect to avoid job racketeering by government officials.”
Earlier, leader of the Disability Advocacy Team and Personal Assistant to Governor Sule on disability/social media, Awe, said the state government has mapped out a plan to assist physically challenged who are either in school or in the informal sector realized their dreams.
The vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Suleiman Mohammed, told the disability advocacy team that the institution has taken it as a policy that the university must make provision for the disabled students.
Represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academics, Prof. Peter Osuorji said in order to mitigate the hardship faced by the physically challenged of the institution, all storey building in the university would be provided with special means of mobility for the disabled.”
Prof. Mohammed, therefore, called on the physically challenged students not to hesitate to report anybody maltreating them to the management of the institution.