The Chairman, Yobe State Association of the Deaf, Mustapha Modu has berated the Yobe state government over years of neglect, exclusion and disparity in the provision of social interventions.
The state chairman made his feelings know in an exclusive interview via an interpreter (Abdullahi Babayo) with DAILY POST on Monday in Damaturu.
He said the association has been trying to reach out to the government in order to present its numerous challenges with a view to addressing them, but to no avail.
“We are not getting any support from the state government. We want the government to be considerate in empowering and educating our members”, he urged.
According to the chairman, the failure of the state government to cater for their educational needs is forcing youths among the deaf community to engage in heinous acts such as drug abuse, thuggery, theft and other anti-social activities.
Modu said though as chairman of the association in the state, he didn’t have the exact statistics of deaf people in the state, but believed that their number is significant.
“We are calling on government to establish special education schools in all the three senatorial zones of the state and equip them with modern facilities and qualified teachers, as that will give people with disabilities like the deaf the opportunity to receive quality education like their counterparts (able persons)”, he appealed.
On health issues, the chairman, Mustapha Modu lamented over lack of interpreters in all government-owned hospitals in the state, something which he said is preventing them from accessing quality healthcare services.
“As an association, we are receiving complaints from members that, there is a huge communication barrier between them the health workers, hence they find it extremely difficult to explain their health predicaments. There are people who read special education, let the government employs them as hospitals interpreters so as to bridge the communication gap”, Modu pleaded.
The association, through the chairman, threatened to vote out politicians in 2019 who made empty promises to them in previous elections.
“We all have our voter cards and we will use them wisely in next year’s elections. We will only vote those that can guarantee our welfare as the era of deception and empty promises is over”, he asserted.
In the same vein, the Yobe State Amir Association of Deaf Muslim Ummah (ADMU), Abubakar Mohammed, through an interpreter ( Abdullahi Babayo), has described as alarming the high rate of illiteracy in the deaf community.
“We have many children that cannot go to schools because their parent cannot afford to pay for their school fees. Though some have completed their primary schools, but their parents cannot pay to pursue the next level of education”, he stated.
He therefore, appealed to the state government and other donor and humanitarian agencies to come to their aid by providing at least one special education boarding school in Damaturu, so that many deaf persons would be educated.
According to Mohammed, government is not also considering them in any of its empowerment programmes for self-reliance.
“We are part of the society, we expect to be treated equally, fairly and justly without discrimination and marginalization”, the Amir reminded.
Both the Chairman and the Amir were however hopeful that the incoming government in the state in 2019 will operate an inclusive and open-door government where addressing the plights of people with disabilities would be part of its policies and programmes.