By Lucky Isibor,
Members of the Nigeria Association of the Blind in Edo state have called on the state government to set up a rehabilitation center for the blind where they could learn skills for empowerment.
The association made the appeal in a speech delivered by the chairman of the Edo state chapter of the Nigeria Association of the Blind, Nosa Osemwota, during the 2018 White Cane Day celebration held Monday, in Benin City.
They also urged the Edo state government to upgrade the School of the Blind in Benin to a boarding school and make the education of the blInd at all levels free.
“We appeal to the Edo state government to make the education for the blind absolutely free, including books, tuition and boarding fees, as it is obtainable in some neighbouring states.
“The state government should also set up a rehabilitation center for the blind where the blind could learn handcraft, animal production, playing of musical instruments, etc.
“We appeal to the state government to make the school for the blInd at Ivbiore, Benin City a boarding school to the blind pupils from other Local Government Areas in Edo state to have a good basic education.
“As we celebrate the White Cane Day, we appeal to the state government and other corporate bodies to make the White Cane available in the state at a subsidized rate”.
In a lecture to mark the occasion, Head of Department of Ophthalmology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, Dr. (Mrs) Uhunmwungho enumerated the causes of blindness to include cataracts, injury/inflammation, glaucoma, refraction error, diabetes and hereditary.
While advising the public to imbibe the culture of continuous eye test she advocated healthy lifestyle, availability of sunlight as according to her blindness can be prevented.
The white cane day is the annual event to acknowledge the abilities of people who are blind and to promote equal opportunities as any other citizen.
A white cane is used by many people who are blind or visually impaired. It aids it’s user to scan their surroundings for obstacles or orientation marks and also traffic participants in identifying the user as blind or visually impaired and taking appropriate care.
Project Charilove distributed white canes to pupils of the state school for the blind and other visually impaired members of the public.