The Deaf Community in Nigeria has called for the support of the Federal Government to establish a special university for the over 17 million deaf people in the country.
The team leader of the Association for the Deaf in Abuja, Dr. Khadijat Rashid, made the call when some members of the association paid a courtesy visit on the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah.
Dr. Rashid, who is also the Dean , School of Education, Business and Human Services, Gallaudet University, Washington said the establishment of the university was important to help the hearing impaired citizens experience university education.
She said many deaf people who were Nigerians were working with the Wesley University owned by the Methodist Church of Nigeria.
” We want the government of Nigeria to establish a deaf university in Nigeria that will help the over 17 million deaf citizens service their needs.
“Wesley university owned by the Methodist church is not depending on federal government funds to open a campus for the deaf. The university has other funding sources. What we want from the government is approval of our programmes and students should be encouraged to come and qualify for that university.
“We therefore seek the efforts and support of the ministry and the government of Nigeria to meet the yearnings of the special people in our nation.”
Rashid appealed that the disability bill before the National Assembly be passed into law as it had been in the Senate for the past 15 years without any development to its passage.
Also, Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Ishaq Oloyede said the team had met with the board’s officials and that of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to fine tune their demand.
Oloyede who corroborated the association’s demand said there was a need for the Federal Government to renew its commitment in support for the centre for the deaf in the country.
He said that the establishment of a deaf centre in Ilorin for over 30 years needed to come alive for the deaf citizens to actualize their dreams.
He added that after the establishment of the centres in Ilorin, funding had been stopped and this influenced the call for its resuscitation.
Prof Oloyede added that the establishment of such centres in five other geopolitical zones of the country would go a long way in meeting their needs.
He said there would be a need to establish and have signers in centres in the University of Maiduguri, University of Nigeria, University of Ibadan, University of Calabar and Bayero State University.
” Some universities like the Bayero University and the University of Calabar are doing well , the schools have graduated students but with pain as their were no signers to interpret for them.
” We agreed at the meeting with them that other established centres need signers just as it had in the centre in University of Ilorin. “
He urged the government to support the other five universities to be coordinated by the University of Ilorin.
In his response, the minister of state for education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah urged the association to tidy up and perfect every document with the NUC to enable the government act quickly and made headway on their demands.
He pledged the ministry’s support of the initiative while calling on the University of Wesley to encourage Nigerians who had studied abroad to return home.
Present at the event was also the President, Nigerian National Association of the Deaf, Dr Sukul Suleiman.