The Vice-Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Professor Charles Esimone has reaffirmed commitment to ensuring conducive learning environment for the visually impaired students and others living with disabilities who are carrying out their academic pursuits in the Institution.
He stated this during a conference organised by the Association of Visually Impaired Students, held at Faculty of Arts Auditorium Unizik Awka, the Anambra state capital on Wednesday.
The Vice-Chancellor who was represented by the Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Stan Udedi, said the plight of students with disabilities is of paramount concern and assured that priority will be given to them both in learning and accommodation facilities.
He, however, urged them not to be discouraged due to their condition, rather be focused on their academic pursuits.
The Chairman of the occasion, Reverend Professor Bonachristus Umeogu, who is also the Dean Faculty of Arts of the Institution said there is ability in disability and that absence of sight should not be a barrier to achieve one’s vision and ambition in life.
In a paper presentation on the, “Do’s and Don’ts’, of the visually impaired, Dr Nonso Okpala of Faculty of Medicine Unizik, said those with eye problems should not be stigmatised rather they should be assisted and referred to eye specialists.
He also promised to give financial support to enable them to achieve their academic pursuits.
In his remarks, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Disability Matters, Barrister Chucks Ezewuzie, represented by Joseph Collins, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sign Language, said Anambra State Government is very passionate about those with disabilities, hence the appointment of those with disabilities as Permanent Secretaries and Senior Special Assistants in the state Ministries and Agencies.
In their separate speeches, the Patron, Association of Visually impaired, Chief G U O Okeke, the wife of former Vice-Chancellor Unizik, Professor Gladys Ahaneku and Mrs Esther Esorone, of Bina Foundation, all harped on giving financial support to those living with disabilities and to avoid stigmatising them.
The President Association of Visually impaired Students Unizik, Mr Anderson Echefu, a political science student, on behalf of the group, expressed gratitude for the support given to them by the university management and other stakeholders, promising that it will spur them to pursue their vision and ambition in life.