THE Lagos State government has urged both primary and secondary school students in the state to stop discriminating against the albinos in their midst, saying albinos are normal human beings like them.
She also advised them not only to feel, mix and play freely with the albinos but also to share knowledge, experiences and other good things with them.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mrs Adebunmi Adekanye, gave the advice on behalf of the state government while speaking at an event to mark this year’s International Albinism Awareness Day in Lagos.
The theme of the programme, which has many students and teachers in attendance, was “Promoting the well-being of Albino Pupils and Students in Lagos State.”
According to Adekanye, albinism is no punishment for any crime neither is it the making of any god or goddess as much erroneous belief.
Albinism, she explained, is the existence of a substantially lower rate of melanin production which is the pigment responsible for the formation of the colour in the body.
“So, the level of availability of melanin which protects the skin from ultraviolet damage in the body makes the difference between the albinos and non-albinos,” she added.
The Perm Sec, while acknowledging that albinism could be truly challenging, noted that no albino should see the health condition as a hindrance to his or her greatness in life nor feel inferior to non-albinos.
Mrs Adekanye, in a press release signed by the Deputy Director of Public Affairs Unit of the ministry, Mr Olusegun Ogundeji, also urged the albinos to always protect themselves from direct sun and any other things that could be harmful to their skin, while advising all the students to be more focused on their studies.
A guest lecturer at the forum, Dr Edi Onyinye Prisca, while delivering her paper on “Managing low vision with albinism,” advised people, especially students with albinism not to expose their eyes to the sun but to sit at vantage positions so as to be able to see clearly.
In her own lecture, Mrs Josephine Omolola, who spoke on “Total care for the albino child,” urged parents to show love and care for their albino children and expose them to formal education and personal hygiene.
She also urged other members of the family and the society at large to give albinos around them support that would help them to succeed in careers and life.