Lagos State Government has unveiled sign language posters to aid easy communication between persons living with hearing impairments and other members of the society.
Speaking at the unveiling of the sign language posters at Alausa Ikeja, recently, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri, stated that the first phase of the initiative would specifically address communication issues between the affected persons and service providers in hospitals, police stations, Front Desk offices and Banks.
Agboola explained that the posters were developed in response to the needs of affected persons who had often suffered undue injustice and neglect arising from their inability to make their plight known to those who would assist them.
He added that the initiative does not only corroborate the inclusive mantra being championed by the current administration but also underscores the policy of mainstream social inclusion of the State government.
The Commissioner, who disclosed that the idea was the first of its kind in the country, noted that the updated versions of the posters would be produced in the future to include some other areas not captured in the first phase of the publication.
Giving a background to the process that gave birth to the booklet, Dabiri admitted the rigorous nature and several consultative engagements that were held with all relevant stakeholders before the final production of the booklet.
He commended the efforts of all those who were involved in the process from the beginning to the end, saying that the process of producing the maiden edition of the publication was very daunting.
“Let me emphasise that these posters would be distributed free of charge to all the relevant stakeholders at no cost and those who are interested in getting more copies of this booklet are free to approach the Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs, LASODA to get more copies,” the Commissioner said.
He revealed that the intention of the State Government in the future is to produce an electronic copy of the sign language publication such that it can be accessed anywhere across the world.
Dabiri called on all service providers to acquaint themselves with the various basic sign languages as indicated in the booklet in order to have unhindered communication with this category of persons and also give them a sense of belonging in the society.
The General Manager of LASODA, Dr. Babatunde Awelenje acknowledged the roles which the sign language booklet would play in integrating persons living with speech and hearing impairment into the society.
According to him, “if the communication barrier with persons living with hearing and speech impairments are addressed, these categories of persons can live a normal life like those without any disability”.