Akwa Ibom Trains Workforce On Sign Language

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Gov Udom Emmanuel

By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Towards improving the condition of people living with disabilities, particularly the deaf and dumb, the Akwa Ibom State Government

has commenced the training of its workforce on the Nigerian Sign Language. 
This has become expedient in considering the fact that only a handful of instructors are professionally certified to cater for the training needs of the over 35,000 deaf and dumb people in the state and the more than 1m deaf people in Nigeria as a whole.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong made this known in Uyo, while declaring open the American and Nigerian Sign Language training for workers in the state government employ at the NUJ Press Centre, Uyo. 
Ememobong said, as a responsive government desirous of alleviating the plight of the less privileged members of the society, it had to rise up to the challenge by putting in place measures to fill the gab in the dearth of instructors for the deaf and dumb, hence the inauguration of the Sign Language training.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Akparawa James Edet, the State Information helmsman said, as purveyors of information and with the need to ensure deep penetration of information on government policies, programmes and activities to all strata of the society, including the deaf and dumb, Information Officers needed to be trained on the use of Sign Language.
To this end, volunteers from the Ministry of Information and Strategy and other Information organisations like NAWOJ, had to be selected for government sponsorship on a 5-month American and Nigerian Sign Language training programme.
He expressed appreciation to the volunteers for giving themselves to “cater for the interest of people with speaking and hearing impairment in the society, adding that the should maintain the interest in the programme by taking the training seriously.
Earlier, the Sign Language Trainer, Dr. Uduak Idiong, who described the willing volunteers as an answered prayer, said the training was paramount as there are about 35,000 deaf people in Akwa Ibom State and more than one million, one hundred deaf persons in Nigeria, with just three certified certified Sign Language interpreters in the country.
The certified Sign Language interpreter and Medical Doctor intimated that, after four months of intensive training, the trainees will undertake a one-month internship at the Special Education Centre and other occasional medical outreaches to enable them put the skill into practice.  
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the Sign Language training in the Ministry and Director of Administration, Mrs.Tiuba Nduonofit, appreciated the participants for accepting to take up the responsibility of helping the deaf and dumb in the state and admonished them to take the training seriously as 80% attendance requirement for the qualifying exam will be viewed very seriously.
Mrs. Tiuba Nduonofit poured encomium on the Information Commissioner, Comrade Ini Ememobong, who she described as one that operates an open door policy for all calibre of government personnel in the Information sector and beyond and prayed God to continue to bless him. 
One of the participants, the Information Officer, Ministry of Transport, Mrs Happiness Nkan, thanked Comrade Ini Ememobong and entire management of the Ministry of Information and Strategy for the opportunity given them to learn the Sign Language in order to serve humanity and pledged their full commitment to the training.
Present at the inauguration ceremony were the Director of Public Relations, Mrs Grace Akpan and the Director of Technical Services, Mr. Joseph Etem

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