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May 11, 2005

Deaf protest against alleged neglect

From: Independent Online - Cape Town,South Africa - May 11, 2005

Kano, Nigeria - About 200 deaf people staged a protest on Tuesday in the northern Nigerian city of Kano against what they called government's neglect of their plight.

Under the banner of their organisation, the Deaf Youth Association, they called for special sign language interpreters for news and other programmes broadcast on state-run television.

They carried placards accusing the state government of starving them of jobs and of news of events happening around them and elsewhere in the world.

Some of their placards, written in English, read: "We are also humans: attend to our rights", "Hunger knows no bounds: we need jobs."

The secretary general of the association in Kano State, Miko Mohammed, a carpenter, made the feelings of his colleagues known in written English.

"What we want is for the government to recognise us as citizens of this state with equal rights as all other citizens. A lot of us are educated but very few of us are provided with jobs.

"We live in a world where information is invaluable to human development. But we have been kept in the dark of happenings around us and the world at large," he wrote.

"We therefore call on the government to design special programmes on state television for the deaf so that we can know what is happening around the world."

The special adviser to the governor on political affairs, Haruna Zago, who received the protesters, called on them to be calm and promised their demands would be looked into by the government.

He said the government would soon hold a meeting with representatives of their association on their demands.

Jibrin Isa Ahmed, who is blind and holds a doctorate in education, was last month appointed as special adviser to the state governor on matters affecting the disabled. - Sapa-AFP

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