By Akeem Abas
Ibadan – An international academy for the visually impaired would soon be established in Oyo State to improve the welfare of Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWD).
South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Social Development, Ms Bogopane Zulu, disclosed this on Tuesday during a courtesy call on Gov. Abiola Ajimobi in Ibadan.
According to her, the setting up of the institution is part of a bilateral agreement reached between Nigeria and South Africa.
She explained that the academic feat of a visually impaired Nigerian child, Adeife Adeniran, who had sought a medical treatment in South Africa inspired the agreement between the two countries.
The deputy minister further explained that the geographical location of Oyo State and its historical feats informed the decision to site the institution in the state.
She said that Dangote Foundation would fund and execute the project which was expected to be inaugurated by South African President Jacob Zuma in May 2018.
“Zuma had requested that the project be completed by May 2018 for a proper handing over to President Muhammadu Buhari,’’ she said.
In his response, Ajimobi expressed his administration’s readiness to host the institution, promising to allocate a piece of land for its construction.
Represented by his deputy, Chief Moses Adeyemo, the governor said that the project would further foster the existing mutual relationship between the two countries.
Ajimobi expressed his administration’s passion for the welfare of the citizenry, particularly the PLWD, saying that he appointed one of them as a special adviser during his first term in office.
Also, Mrs Atinuke Osunkoya, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said that the present administration in Oyo State had recorded great feats in empowering PLWD.
According to the commissioner, about 1,000 PLWD were trained in different vocations while mobility aids were provided to more than 200 of them.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mrs Genevieve Adeniran, mother of Adeife, accompanied the South African delegation to the state.