By Chijioke Okoronkwo
Osinbajo spokesman Laolu Akande, in a statement released Monday in Abuja, quoted the vice president at a virtual event to mark World Albinism Day, on the theme “The strength beyond of all chances ”.
The virtual event attended by a number of prominent figures, including diplomats such as US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard, took place on June 13.
Osinbajo participated in the virtual event as it landed in Lagos from Abuja, en route to a number of events later in Lagos.
Having conversations about the safety and empowerment of citizens living with albinism is paramount, Osinbajo says.
“It is necessary to see it for what it is, a genetic difference and not a contagious disease or a public health problem.
“To deal with the various challenges that people with albinism face, it is necessary to have frank and strong conversations about protecting and empowering our compatriots who live with albinism.
“These conversations will drive change on two levels – in the public domain, where sociocultural perceptions of albinism that are rooted in ignorance and superstition can finally be let go.”
The vice president said it will not be an easy task as superstition and socio-cultural issues take time to address, but stakeholders need to aggressively start pitching counter-narratives to socio-cultural misconceptions about the disease.
“Second, the interventions performed must be designed to improve the lives of people with albinism.
“Now is the time to do more to reverse negative mindsets and socio-cultural stereotypes about albinism in our society.
“We also need to go further to take deliberate action, as individuals and officials, giving them equal opportunities in the workplace and in social settings as well.
He praised the event’s organizer Mr. Jake Eppele for his advocacy for albinos, describing him as one of the most eloquent and influential spokespersons for rights, protection and good -be albinos in Nigeria and around the world.
“I think it was the hard work of people like Eppele and in response to the many challenges faced by the albino community in the country that led to the adoption in 2012 of the national policy on albinism,” said Osinbajo.
He added that the aim of the policy was to help people with albinism and provide them with an environment as conducive as possible to their personal development.
“Subsequently, in 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the inauguration of a technical committee to review the policy to assess its success since its implementation and to facilitate access for people living with it. ‘albinism to social services, especially education and health care,’ he said. .
In his remarks, Eppele praised the vice president for taking the time to attend the virtual event, despite being in transit, describing Osinbajo as a man of his word.
“Even though you’re on the move and in transit, you’ve stopped just to talk to us; it shows us how passionate you are about the less privileged.
“I also want to say that you made history by becoming the first vice president in the world, speaking to people with albinism that day and I recorded it,” Eppele said. (NOPE)
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