By Deborah Christopher, Abuja
The Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, Social and Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq disclosed that federal government’s plans to modify the basic white Canes by introducing technological components through local production for the visually impaired persons in Nigeria.
She made this known at the Ministerial Press Briefing to mark the commemoration of the 2020 White Cane Safety Awareness Day on Thursday in Abuja.
Farouq represented by the Director of Humanitarian affairs Ali Grema disclosed that works are being put in place to upgrade the white cane technologically to help visually impaired, blind people to become independent
She said “We look forward to modern White Cane with sensors and alarms as well as other features that will help the blind and visually impaired live more independently”.
Farouq further shared that “In recent years, to demonstrate the commitment of the Government towards protecting the rights of People With Disabilities (PWDs) and the Blind or visually impaired persons, the discrimination against Persons With Disabilities (prohibition) Act was signed, and Council Members as well as an Executive Secretary for the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities were appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari now awaiting confirmation”
“The theme for this year’s celebration was: “Promoting Independence and Productivity”.
This year’s celebration will be marked in a low key with a press briefing as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
The global event which is championed to inform the public while at the same time educate them on the advantages of the white Cane and the state of visually impaired persons in the world
The Director of Special Needs Mrs. Nkechi Onwukwe who represented the Permanent Secretary Bashir Nura Alkali, noted that the aim of the press briefing is to create awareness on the significance and the importance of White Cane, both as a mobility tool and symbol for the blind and the visually impaired.
She also noted that it’s a moment to seize the opportunity to appreciate all partners, stakeholders support, collaborators and also a time to enlarge advocacy and public enlightenment on issues around white cane, the blind and visually impaired in particular and persons with disabilities in general.
Meanwhile, the White Cane is a silver-coated metallic white cane that is used by the visually impaired to guide them in moving around.
The day has become a significant instrument to the blind persons, as well as an internationally recognized symbol that attracts help whenever and wherever their users find it difficult to move freely.