The Knowledge for the Blind Initiative, an NGO, on Wednesday urged government at all levels to reproduce public documents and educational materials in braille to meet the needs of the blind.
Gani-Ikilama also said that the measure would also increase access to information and career choices among the blind and people with low vision in the country.
He noted that, although government was making efforts to ensure no one was left behind in governance, education and political space, the blind were still being discriminated in terms of access to information, academic materials and career choices.
“For example, the blind cannot access government public documents because they were not reproduced in braille.
“This make access to information and participation in governance very difficult for the blind.
“They were also forced to study certain courses in tertiary institutions because the study materials were not in braille, thereby denying them the opportunity to pursue their educational dream in life.
“It is important to note that access to information and education is a right and not a privilege.
“Therefore, government at all levels must consider the needs of the blind when producing public documents and educational materials, including programmes of event during public gatherings,” he said.
He disclosed that the NGO has set up a braille production centre in Kaduna, the first in the country, with the capacity to produce maps, diagrames and other symbols for the blind.
Gani-Ikilama explained that the equipment was donated by Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation to improve access to information and education by the blind and those with low vision in the country.
“The centre will support the production of newspapers, government documents and educational books in braille for the blind to pursue their educational career in any university or polytechnic in the country.
“There was a lady in this country that wanted to study physiotherapy but ended up studying law, because the study materials were not in braille.
“My father is blind, and he studied physiotherapy in England because the study materials were reproduced in braille.
“He worked as a physiotherapist at Lagos University Teaching Hospital and Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital before he retired. This is now very possible for the blind in this country,” he added.
He commended the DFID-funded Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn, Kaduna State Office, for supporting the Disability Community to push for the passage of Disability Bill in Kaduna state.
He, however, pointed out that the draft bill was not produced in braille for the blind community to go through and make necessary observations and input.
“We are here to fill-in such gaps and to ensure that no blind person in this country is denied the right to information and the right to make certain choices due to lack of vision,” the director said.
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
Humanitarian day: Group lauds security agencies for protecting lives, property
By Olasunkanmi Onifade
Abuja, Aug. 19, 2019 ( NAN) Network of Civil Society Organisation, Borno, on Monday commended security agencies in the country for their relentless effort in securing and protecting the territorial sovereignty.
Chairman of group, Mr Ahmed Shehu said this at a media briefing in Abuja to commemorate World Humanitarian Day.
This year’s campaign was on Women Humanitarians, which supported the recognition that women deserved in strengthening of global humanitarian response as well as in protection efforts under the international law.
“It’s a day directed towards honouring humanitarian efforts worldwide and propagating the idea of supporting people in crisis.
‘World Humanitarian Day 2019 focuses on celebrating women humanitarians and their undying contribution in making the world a better place.
“Women humanitarians hold a sense of unparalleled uniqueness, one that add to the global momentum of female strength, power and perseverance.
“It is time to honor the women who have acted as first responders to the darkest hours of crisis,” he said.
Shehu said Boko Haram was in its 10th years, which led to the death of over 40,000 people and displacing about three million people.
He said the casualty was usually soft target, innocent victims and aids workers, saying the day was a sober reflection to remember the humanitarians who lost their lives in the line of duty.
“The humanitarian community lost over 35 aids workers, majority are local actors, who sacrifice their comfort and life for others to live.
“We are urging security agencies to enhance security arrangement that will ensure that local actors are supported in reaching out to the affected population.
“We also call on UN Agencies and other partners to provide insurance cover to local civil society members they are partnering,” shehu said.
He, however, sympathised with families of those who had lost their lives, urging all relevant agencies to enhance and ensure quick dispensation of the severance packages of the fallen heroes to motivate upcoming generation to be in the frontline to defend humanity.
The Executive Director, Women In the New Nigeria and Youth Empowerment Initiative (WINN), Mrs Lucy Yunana, called on the Federal Government to continue in its efforts in rebuilding the North East, adding that there should be special subvention for the region.
The Programme Director, Participating Communication for Gender Development Initiative (PAGED), Ms Ummi Bukar, who received an award as a woman humanitarian, encouraged women not to be tired in their relentless efforts.
She, however, said she would continue to create the platform to mainstream gender, particularly the voices of women, saying that conflicts and other forms of violence had changed gender roles, bringing more burden and responsibility upon women.
“Women shield men from attacks, most times when terrorist attacks, the women disguise the men and hide them, so they won’t be killed.
“Also during this periods of attack women are left to cater for the needs of their children alone,” she said.
World Humanitarian Day is commemorated Aug. 19 every year.
Ikpeazu inaugurates committee on payment of salary, pension arrears
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia on Monday inaugurated an 8-member committee to articulate the modality for the payment of the arrears of salaries, pensions and allowances owed to civil servants and pensioners in the state.
Speaking during the event at the Government House, Umuahia, Ikpeazu said that his administration was committed to the welfare of Abia workers.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Chief Ude Oko-Chukwu, said that the administration was determined to maintain a robust relationship with the organised labour.
According to him, the task of taking the state to the next level of development is reliant on the contributions of workers.
He charged the committee to come up with modalities that would make nonpayment of salaries, pensions and allowances a thing of the past in the state.
He said that the committee had 14 working days to complete its assignment and hand in its commendation to the government .
Responding, the Chairman of the committee, Mr Onyii Wamah, assured the governor that the committee would work hard to evolve workable recommendations.
Wamah, who is the Abia Head of Service, said that the committee was poised to put an end to the issues of unpaid arrears of salaries, pensions and allowances.
Members of the committee on the government side included Mr Okey Ihedioha, Mr Kelechi Imeoria and Dr Anthony Agbazuere, a former state Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
Others were the leadership of the organised labour in the state, including the Chairman of NLC, Mr Uchenna Obigwe, Chairman of the Trade Union, Mr Sunny Onwuma, Chairman of the Joint negotiating Council, Mr Chris Okoro and Mr Umah Kalu.
KDSG announces more appointments, redeploys Permanent Secretaries
Gov. Nasir El-Rufai has approved the appointments of seven new Permanent Secretaries and senior officials for five agencies.
This was contained in a statement by
Among the new appointees is Dr. Aliyu Jafaru, whose appointment as commissioner was rejected by the Kaduna State House of Assembly for his social media criticism of El-Rufai.
Jafaru is now appointed as Deputy Director-General, Kaduna State Geographic Information System and will still face the Assembly for clearance.
The new Permanent Secretaries include Amina Adamu, Phoebe Sukai-Yayi, Bashir Umar-Lere, Sabiu Sani, Dr Haliru Soba, Amina Abdullahi and Muhammed Bashir-Umar.
Others appointed to various agencies are
Engr. Aliyu Salihu, Acting Director-General, Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority, Engr. Ahmed Munir, Director-General, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency and Abdullahi Sani as Chairman of SUBEB.
Also appointed for SUBEB are Mubarak Mohammed, Permanent Member, Project Management and Dr. Christy Alademerin, Permanent Member, Human Resources Management.
Meanwhile, Umma Aboki has been reappointed as Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency.
The government has also announced the deployment of all permanent secretaries in the state civil service.
According to the statement, Nuhu Buzun has been deployed to Cabinet Affairs; Adamu Mansur, Human Services and Social Development and Stephen JosephEnvironment.
Others are Habiba Shekarau, Housing and Urban Development; Mahmoud Yamusa, Planning and Budget;
Aisha Mohammed, General Services; Musa Adamu,Local Government and Ibrahim Jere, Public Service Office.
Also deployed were Mohammed Shuaibu, Health; Murtala Dabo, Finance; Chris Umar, Justice; Umar Ibrahim, Sports Development; Amina Adamu, SUBEB; Phoebe Yayi, Education; Bashir Lere, Public Works and Infrastructure, and Sabiu Sani, Agriculture.
The rest include Dr Haliru Soba, Business, Innovation and Technology; Amina Abdullahi, Establishment; Muhammad Bashir-Umar, Civil Service Commission and Umma Ahmed, as Director-General, Quality Assurance Authority.
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
Gov. Yahaya visits flood-ravaged communities in Gombe, pledges support
Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State has visited flood-ravaged communities in Nafada and Dukku Local Government Areas as a result of over flow of River Gongola, following heavy downpour on Friday.
Yahaya, while speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the Emir of Nafada in Nafada Local Government area of the state, assured the people of the affected communities of his administration’s commitment to their wellbeing.
He added that the state government would offer assistance to minimise the suffering of the affected persons and also ensure that the attention of relevant agencies was drawn to the roads washed away by the flood.
“We are aware of the damage on these communities as we have earlier directed concerned agencies to do an assessment of the effect of the flood on the communities and farmlands, for necessary actions.
“We are concerned and we will also make provisions to assist the farmers. We are not paying them everything but at least, we will give them support for them to pick up again,” he said.
The governor, however urged the people to desist from clogging the drains and also learn to adhere to building codes, adding that it was wrong to build on drainage channels.
He also advised them to cultivate the habit of planting trees to mitigate other environmental challenges which the communities were facing.
Yahaya, who visited the victims of the flooding, made personal donation of N1 million each to support those from Nafada and Dukku Local Government Areas.
Earlier, Alh. Muhammadu Hamza, Emir of Nafada, thanked the governor for personally coming to do an on-the-spot assessment and to sympathise with the people of the communities.
Hamza lamented that several farmlands were washed away by the flood, adding that this was a threat to food security, in view of the agricultural potentials of the affected communities.
He appealed to the state government to do all within its powers to address the issues by coming to the aid of the farmers, adding that most of them lost their farms and households.
The traditional ruler also appealed to well-meaning individuals to donate towards alleviating the sufferings of the people whom the disaster had wreaked havoc in their communities.
Also speaking, Alh. Haruna Rashid II, Emir of Dukku, appreciated Gov. Yahaya for coming to see things for himself.
He added that such visit would go a long way in assuring the people of government’s commitment to addressing their plights.
Edited by Chioma Ugboma and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Abia council workers protest non-payment of salary arrears, leave allowances
The angry workers, numbering at least 200, locked the main gate to the council headquarters located on Bende Road, chanting anti-government songs.
The protesters called on the Federal Government and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to come to their rescue.
They barricaded the main entrance to the council, displaying placards with different inscriptions, including “We have not received our leave allowances 2014, 2018, 2019.”
“NFIU should come and rescue us;” “Our allocation has been tampered with and our salaries not been paid by Abia Govt.”, among others.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the protest paralysed official activities in the council.
In an interview with newsmen, Mr Dick Nwosu, the Chairnan of the National Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE) in the council, expressed deep worry over the plight of workers as a result of the development.
He said: “For four-and-a-half months, we have not been paid. We are owed by government. Let them come and pay us.
“We are suffering. Our 2017, 2018, 2019 leave allowances have not been paid to us. We are human beings.
“Most of us have families and it is painful that we cannot afford to take care of them, yet we are working.
“The allocation has been coming from the federal government as and when due. Then what is holding the salaries?”
Nwosu said they were not fighting the council because it was still operating Joint Allocation Account Committee (JAAC) with the state.
“We are only asking them to pay our salaries and allowances,” he said.
When contacted on the cellphone, the Transition Committee Chairman of the council, Mr Kelechi Ezechukwu, said he was not disposed to comment on the issue.
Reacting to the development, the Commissioner for Information, Mr John Okiyi, told newsmen that the matter was purely that of the local government council.
He said that the state government had nothing to do with the salaries of council workers, pointing out that local governments had become financially autonomous.
“The report we have received from the local government chairman is that he was going to pay them one month salary, meaning that they are being owed only three months,” Okiyi said.
(Edited by Sam Oditah)