By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has directed the National Broadcasting Commission to implement the Broadcasting Code provision that mandates television stations to deploy sign language interpreters on their major news bulletin, for the benefit of persons living with a disability.
The Minister issued the directive in Abuja on Monday when he received executives of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities on a courtesy visit to his office.
He said: “I have also directed, within my ministry most importantly, the issue of television stations having sign language interpreters and by tomorrow, I can assure you that a directive will go out to television stations pointing their attention to the relevant provisions of the Broadcasting Code. I am sure that in a few weeks time, you will begin to see the difference.”
The Minister said his ministry will collaborate with the Centre in the implementation of Section Two of the Discrimination Against Persons With Disability (Prohibition) Act by making provisions for the promotion of awareness regarding the rights, respect and dignity of persons with disabilities as well as highlight their capabilities, activities and contribution to society.
He, therefore, called on the Centre to participate in the creation of content on their activities, which will be disseminated to the public through the media and the National Orientation Agency.
The Minister expressed delight that President Buhari has fulfilled his campaign promise to the persons living with disability by signing the Discrimination Against Persons With Disability (Prohibition) Act into law and operationalizing it through the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disability, after a tireless struggle to achieve it in the last 18 years.
He described the present administration as friendly to persons living with disability and said they have been mainstreamed into all the Social Intervention Programmes of government, including the Survival Fund where 10% of what is being administered by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment is earmarked for persons living with a disability.
In his address, the Executive Director of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, Mr David Anyaele, commended the President for signing the Discrimination Against Persons With Disability (Prohibition) Act into law and for the establishment of the National Commission for Persons with Disability in order to promote their welfare and social well-being.
He called on government ministries, departments and agencies to comply with a provision in the Act, which mandates them to reserve at least 5% of employment opportunities for persons living with a disability.