The Commissioner for Agriculture and Women Affairs, Dr. Mrs. Glory Edet has admonished visually impaired persons in Akwa Ibom State not to see the natural or sudden lost of their sight as the end of their productive life but to live and add value to the society.

Dr. Edet gave the admonition on Tuesday, October 15, at the Women Development Centre during the 2019 White Cane Safety Day Celebration in the state themed: “WHITE CANE, MY KEY TO PRODUCTIVE LIFE”

She stated that the state government under the watch of Governor Udom Emmanuel has demonstrated passion for her people including people with visual impairment which she noted has sustained and ensured an inclusive approach in governance through the implementation of policies and programmes that provide equal opportunities for all.

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“Let me use this event to exhort all visually impaired persons, not to see the loss of your sight as the end of your productive life, a license to engage in indecent street begging or other unlawful activities, but to believe in your talent and innate potentials, use the White Cane and maximize your productive capabilities, key into the Dakkada philosophy of our dynamic Governor and make the best use of the enabling environment and inherent resources created by government to improve yourselves and live your dreams”, she said.

“This year’s theme: ‘The White Cane – My Key to productive Life’ is quite apt and timely as the mission of the day is to educate the general populace about blindness and how the blind and visually impaired can live, move around, engage in productive activities independently while giving back to their communities.

“Therefore, we should remove all form of barrier, stigmatization, discrimination against Visually Impaired Persons.  We also celebrate the abilities and successes achieved by blind people in a sighted world as well as honour the many contributions made by the blind and visually impaired. She stated.

Dr. Glory Edet also expressed satisfaction over the landmarks recorded by the physically challenged persons in the educational sector and every field of specialization describing it as a welcome development in the state.

“In Akwa Ibom State today, we can confidently boast of highly educated visually impaired persons in different fields like Law, Education, Journalism, Administration and many other professional achievements made by blind persons in our State. 

“It’s worthy of note that the sustained financial empowerment, the free training of some visually impaired persons at the Nigeria Farm Craft Centre for the blind in Lagos, and provision of start-up packs for graduates from the above centre to start up their businesses, donation of learning appliances like braille machines, braille paper, slates and stylus, lap-top computers with jaws as well as educational grants to visually impaired students, sponsorship, donation of several white canes and the celebration of the White Cane Day as we are all witnessing today”.

“All these and many more are testimonies to the fact that His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel is doing everything humanly possible to carry everybody along as well as touch the lives of all categories of Akwa Ibom people. She maintained.

Speaking on the theme: ‘White Cane, My Key to productive Life’, Mr. Francis Bassey expressed dissatisfaction and displeasure on the inconsequential and inhumane treatment given to the people with disabilities with high rate of discrimination which he called on every concern citizens to always show love, kindness and affection to the physical challenged persons at every point in time.

“Today is a significant day celebrate the blinds using the White Cane as a symbol. It’s a day set aside by the United Nation to draw the attention of the whole world to what we call ‘The Chemistry of the Blind’ aligning it with the totality of what the blinds are passing through on daily basis.

“The blind should be given equal and humanitarian treatment by the people irrespective of the fact that they are blind…their intellectual capacity is still intact thereby contributing immensely to the growth and development of the society if given an opportunity”. He said

While registering their goodwill messages, the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Association of the Deaf, Mr. Anietie Jackson; Chairman, Blind Association of Nigeria, Mr. Timothy Peter; and Chairperson, Akwa Ibom State Association of disabilities, Deaconess Offiong Bassey, extolled Governor Udom Emmanuel for his doggedness and human oriented leadership prowess.

They poured encomiums on the Women Affairs Commissioner, Dr. Glory Edet for her leadership and motherly role in impacting on the lives of persons with disabilities, while appealing to the state government to incorporate disabled graduates in the state Civil Service so that they can be gainfully employed.

Credit: Anietie Essia