Like most Nigerians across the country, the effects of the lockdown put in place by government to curtail the spread of Coronavirus have also left persons with visual impairment with various tales to tell.
While some able-bodied persons have managed to get items distributed as palliatives to cushion the hardship occasioned by the lockdown of the economy, visually impaired individuals have mostly been on the receiving end, according to findings by SaharaReporters through interactions with persons in this category.
Taiwo Amao, a visually impaired man, said he did not get any of the items distributed by some government officials to Ikorodu residents to withstand the hardship brought by the lockdown.
He said, “They came to Ikorodu. Last week, I was told to come but that place is a bit too far from me.”
Amao was practicing as a mechanical engineer when his sight tripped off. He has somehow managed to take care of his four children by doing a collection of diverse things.
He added, “I do discuss and shot-put for Lagos State as a visually impaired person.
“I studied Mechanical engineering before I lost my vision to glaucoma. So, I am still able to do one or two engineering jobs and get people to get it done perfectly. I also do scrap buying.
“I also practice as a health and safety professional. I do training and give advice for people and companies and government agencies.”
Timilehin Olonisaye is currently in Ekiti State while interests pile up on a N300,000 loan he borrowed to establish a centre for after-school tutorials in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
He obtained a Master’s degree in International Relations but is at this point only able to command an ’irregular N30,000’ salary as a teacher under the Federal Government’s Npower scheme.
He said, “I was just paid March’s salary last Thursday.”
He added that it was a struggle laying a hand on palliatives from the Ekiti State Government since the lockdown came into force in the state at the end of last month.
“It was a tug-of-war before we got it, I and some other people were shouting on radio,” he said.
Chairman of the National Association for the Blind in Lagos, Tunde Mohammed, told SaharaReporters that the mode of getting aid across to persons with special needs had been uncoordinated.
Mohammed said government initiated the process of making relief items available by verifying the details of persons on the state’s residence database – LASRA, but the strategy was not working well.
According to him, the whole palliative distribution in Lagos has been “clumsy, not properly done and has been a failure”.
He said not up to half of the 300 registered members of the association in Lagos have received any relief support yet.