ByIduozee Paul, Benin Correspondent
A university lecturer in thedepartment of political science, University of Benin,
Dr. Osaretin Idahosa and founder of Advocate for Good Governance, Comrade Austin Osakwe have appealed to the federal, state and local governments to pay more attention to issues and needs of albinos to give them a sense of belonging in the society.
They also frowned at the stigmatization and discrimination of the albinos by government, individuals, relatives and friends which make them feel dejected and hopeless in the society.
The duo said it is the duty of government at all levels to attend to the plights of albinos in Nigeria.
The duo who spoke at the event organized by The Albinos Network Association of Nigeria(TANAN), with the theme:‘Still Standing Strong,’ to mark the International Albinoism. Awareness Day in Benin City, said,“albinos are our friends and members of our families”, that we must relate with to make them blend with the populace and not feel neglected.
Dr. Idahosa, urged governments to create conducive environments for them to strive as he charged the albinos to always celebrate themselves so that people will celebrate them more.
He added that albinos have the capacity to become leaders in the society and implored parents to educate their children on the right mindset and attitude towards albinos whenever they are in their presence.
The university don said from his research, a total of five million albinos are in Africa, while two million of them are in Nigeria. He called for integration of albinos into the society to make them happy and contribute towards societal advancement and development.
Contributing, Comrade Austin Osakwe advisedthe albinos to mobilize and organized their members to chart the course thatwould protect them and address their needs. He urged them to at least, try andorganize a rally, seminar and workshop that would address current problems disturbingthe group.
Also speaking, the senior registrar, Plastic Surgery, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Dr. FidelisOzoba, said every albino has a germ that makes them became albinism. He saidthe germ is usually weak in nature which revealed the albinism in their body.
Dr. Ozoba debunked the rumour thatalbinos are not supposed to take salt and pepper. He explained that theyare meant to take salt and pepper provided the salt and pepper are not much intheir food. Ozoba added that the technology used in detecting the gem in theirsystem is not available in Nigeria and appealed to them to take the care oftheir skin seriously since their skin is sensitive to the sun.
Expressing disappointment overgovernment neglect and lack of concern for the albinos in the society, the EdoState coordinator of the Albinos Network Association of Nigeria (TANAN),lbrahim Momoh, lamented that government at all levels have abandoned the twomillion albinos’ in Nigeria.
Ibrahim Momoh, said the cost oftreatment of skin diseases for albinos is very high compared to sickle cellpatients that get free treatment with subsidies for their illness. He complainedthat the plight that government has abandoned them to face alone was not causedby them, as they were born to see themselves as an albinos.
He appealed to government at all levelsand sectors to enact policies that will make albinos involved in the activitiesof governance for better productivity in Nigeria.
Osakwe stressed that treatment ofalbinos should be made free so that they can access quick medical skin care.
Giving the vote of thanks, the EdoState secretary of the Albinos Network Association of Nigeria Collins Omokaro,said there is nothing albinos cannot do if they are determined, to unveil thehidden gifts, talents and potentials in them. He urged them to discover theirGod-given potentials so that they will not be the ones limiting their successin life, using himself as an example.
He thanked everybody that attendedthe occasion.