The British Council Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (RoLAC) Programme has trained no fewer than 40 sign language interpreters in Lagos that will always assist persons living with disabilities (PWDs).
The Coordinator of RoLAC in Lagos State, Mrs Ajibola Ajimakiwa, said on Wednesday during the training that her organisation decided to carry out the workshop due to the vulnerability of the PWDs.
According to Ajimakiwa, RoLAC was seeking to build the capacity of sign language interpreters in critical provisions of the key legislation that protect women, children and PWDs in Lagos State.
“These laws include: the protection against violence law, Child Rights Law and Special Persons Law.
“RoLAC Programme focuses on improved access to justice for persons with physical and mental disabilities.
“The training is to enhance the capacity of sign language interpreters to be able to offer communication support to speech impaired/hard of hearing victims of sexual or domestic violence including hard of hearing children who come in contact or in conflict with the law.
“It will also enhance the capacity of the sign language interpreters to work with persons with hearing/speech impairment from an informed background on issues within the context of the laws,” she said.
The coordinator promised that RoLAC would develop a service directory which would serve as a data base of sign language interpreters for justice sector actors.
Mrs Lola Vivour-Adeniyi, a sexual and gender base violence expert, said the workshop was a welcome development, stressing that participants were now well informed about their role as interpreters.
She said with the training, PWDs would have fewer problems in participating in the activities of the society, particularly in Lagos State.
Mr Tobi Omimakinde, a sign language interpreter and Secretary, Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, said the training was the first of its kind.
Omimakinde said the training had exposed his members to many things about PWDs, including their laws and how to address them.
“The training has given us first-hand information about law governing PWDs in Lagos State.
“Before now, organizations like Mirabel Centre, Family Support Group, Mediation Centre among others had been championing the causes of PWDs.
“RoLAC has done programme that cannot be forgotten in our profession because we now know the terminologies to use in addressing PWDs. We are told to see the ability and not disability in the people,” he said.
Mr David Anyanle, the Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, called on the government to provide facilities that would be accessible to PWDs, particularly public transportation, buildings and motor parks.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 40 participants were drawn from the Association of Sign Language Interpreters of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter. (NAN)