By DESTINY Isinwa
The Imo State chapter of Association of Deaf Persons, under the chairmanship of Mr. Uzoma Edward have decried what they described as huge marginalization inflicted on them by the Imo State Government.
The association made their discomfort known to Journalists on Monday September 7th during a Press Conference held in Owerri, the state capital.
Narrating their ordeals and difficulties faced in the state, a member of the group Mr. Aghaeri Efobi who spoke on behalf of the chairman due to his inability to communicate orally hinted that deaf persons over the years have been sidelined unjustly without any societal integration by both the government and individuals.
“It’s rather unfortunate to note that for many years now, we have been totally neglected in our society, we want the government of Imo State and beyond to acknowledge our presence and relevance because we are also citizens and stakeholders of the State.
We want to urge the Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma to appoint one of us as a Special Adviser in his government whom through which we can reach out our problems to as it is evident in Anambra and some other States.
“We also request for a comfortable and conducive Secretariat where we can meet periodically to hold our meetings.
Further more, due to our condition, we urge his Excellency to make provision for an interpreter in all Television Stations in the state so as to engage us in effective media communication.” he demanded.
Another member of the association, Mrs. Ibewuchi Chidimma who spoke on behalf of the deaf women in the State further hinted on the incorporation of deaf persons into profitable skill acquisitions in the society such as hair dressing, fashion designing among others to enable them make a living and become financially independent.
She however, thanked the State Governor for the provision of Special Adviser on Special Citizens among his cabinet, but stated categorically that the deaf are not been carried along adequately as other disabled persons in the state.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the governor on Special Citizens, Chief Dr. Samuelson Emehibe in his address maintained that their challenges will be duly channelled to the governor.
He assured them of a positive response from the state government while stressing that the administration of Sen. Hope Uzodimma is poised to deliver the much needed dividends of democracy in the state to all and sundry which includes those with disabilities.