A speaker of Sign Language who is in the employ of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, Mr. Dauda Qowiyu Abiodun, has disclosed that sign language is a Universal language which has the capacity to to carry any type of message, including divine message to those who understand the language following formal training in Deaf Education at certain institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.
“though sign language is Universal in nature, different countries have the equivalent of vocabularies which cater for peculiarities of different countries hence, there is the Nigerian Sign Language, American Sign Language and British Sign Language, among others.”
Mr. Dauda who relayed the last Friday Sermon of the retired Chief Imam of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria to deaf Muslims among the thousands of ongregants at the University’s Central Mosque on Friday, February 7, 2020 , told Haba Naija’s reporters in an interview that though sign language is Universal in nature, different countries have the equivalent of vocabularies which cater for peculiarities of different countries hence, there is the Nigerian Sign Language, American Sign Language and British Sign Language, among others.
According to him, “both the Christian and Muslim communities in the University have the same right to sign language interpretation at any ceremony or function, there is no separate sign language for Arabic and English language’’ he disclosed.
Mr. Dauda Qowiyu Abiodun who works at the Centre for Supportive Services for the Deaf at the said said on Thursday (February 27, 2020) noted that the Centre where he works is not a sign language degree awarding centre. He added that the department is a support centre of sign language interpretation for deaf students in the University who study diverse courses across disciplines. Some of the students the centre supports are studying for degreee in the sciences, in Engineering and in the humanities. He added that the university of Ilorin has produced many deaf medical doctors, engineers and lawyers.
The sign language interpreter said professional life can be exciting for him and his fellow interpreters. No two clients are ever the same, some are fast, others slow. You may work with a fast speaker in the morning, and a slow speaker in the afternoon. This meant there is never a dull moment at work.
Employement opportinities for the deaf is not widely available
Mr Doud is not happy with the wide spread discrimination, against highly qualified deaf ex-students of his university in particular, and the wider deaf community. He is hopeful that the passage of the Disability Act in Nigeria, will give the deaf the same employment opportunity as others . “once the disability act has been enforced, the deaf will enjoy equal opportunity to gainful employement as any other Nigerian citizen”.
Mr. Dauda Qowiyu revealed that there is a free sign language training group, which meets for a weekly training session at the University. He disclosed that knowledge of sign language can be amplified by attending seminars, workshops and trainings. which help language interpreters obtain perfection in decoding information to the deaf.
He added that ’’we have many association for enhancing our interpretations ability, such as, association of sign language interpreter of Nigeria, educational sign language interpreter of Nigeria and muslim sign language association of Nigeria ‘’ .
Mr Dauda who was trained at College of Special Education ib Oyo. He called on government to provide Sign Language laboratories across the country, so that practitioners do not have to rely on their hands only.