Abuja- The Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria (ASLIN) has urged broadcasting television stations and government to engage the service of language interpreters to ensure that hearing impaired persons in the country were informed.
The National President of the Association, Mr Timothy Tinat, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
He said Nigeria had a large population of people with impaired hearing that needed to be carried along.
Tinat added that the interpreters’ association work as a bridge in communication between the deaf and the public, as well as act as advocate for the deaf.
He noted that although the media was doing a lot for people with disabilities, more still needed to be done to address the existing gap being suffered by persons affected by hearing loss.
He said “we have approximately six to seven million persons affected with hearing loss of different kind and the only way to get them informed is through visuals.
“It is only those that are educated that can read through text messages and the braille. Those that are not educated strongly rely on sign language interpretation.
“This is why we are calling on television stations to carry information through sign language interpreters, so that the deaf audience can be carried along.’’
The ASLIN president also urged government to engage the service of sign language interpreters during national broadcasts and public gatherings.
Tinat, however, said this could only be achieved when the disability bill was signed and passed into law.
“The disability bill has a provision that sign language interpreters should be made available at all public gatherings,’’ he added.
He said members of the Association sometimes voluntarily go to public functions to communicate to people with hearing loss.
“By the time the bill becomes a law, you will find out that if there is presidential broadcast, there will be an interpreter.
“There will also be an interpreter at events of national importance to carry along this category of people.’’
Mrs Esther Sunday, a person with disability, equally called for the sensitisation of the media on proper language usage to address people with disabilities.
Sunday said most times the media generalised people with disabilities without regard to the kind of the disability.
She added that people with disabilities were most times addressed in derogatory manner, noting that persons with physical disability were addressed as cripples and those visually impaired were referred to as blind, while those with leprosy as lepers.
She stressed that those with hard hearing were addressed as deaf without any remorse, saying there was no need to address a person with disability with the impairment he or she was having. (NAN)