Discrimination, Poor Road Infrastructure Barrier against White Cane Users, Says FNSB

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Oluchi Chibuzor

As part of efforts to reduce the plight of visually impaired Nigerians who use white cane to aid mobility, the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind (FNSB) has called for immediate restructuring on the current state of the roads in the country.

This, according to them, would enable over four million visually impaired Nigerians to effectively utilize the tool, which is a corner stone in the rehabilitation of the blind.

Speaking to journalist in Lagos recently to mark the International White Cane Safety Day Walk, the Executive Secretary, FNSB, Omowunmi Ogunkua, said stiffer punitive measures were required to curb increasing abuses of white cane users by pedestrians and motorists.

She said the school has all the necessary facilities to mold every visually impaired citizen in the country to become independent and productive since it was established as a vocational training centre for the blind (VTCB) in 1955.

According to her, “It is very common to hear that the white canes of the blind are trampled on by pedestrians and motorist. The discrimination against persons with disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, seeks to protect the rights of the visually impaired, including those who use white cane to navigate.

“The disability law does not have a specific mention of the White Cane Safety Law for blind and the visually impaired so that the public in general would be on the lookout for them and give them the respect; through infrastructural amenities like good roads that would allow them to move around unhindered,” she said.

The society, however said “Nigeria is long overdue in this 21st century for the necessary infrastructure to make living and movement easier for the impaired; through traffic lights along our major roads with buttons for them to press to turn on red light to halt traffic.

“Speed breaks be constructed on the dual carriage ways of Agege Motor road on both sides of the road close to Cappa Bus stop, as they appeal to government, international organisations, corporate world and philanthropist to donate more white canes for the use of blind person.”