I had a second encounter with the Central Bank Governor at the meeting held at CBN earlier on. I was impressed. Erudite, yes! I was able to lipread him well enough. But what got me was that he is really disability-friendly!
You may recall from my post on the AIT interview that the CBN governor had formulated an employment policy for People With Disabilities before that interview. I was impressed then and I am still impressed now. During the meeting, he reiterated how CBN had directed banks in major locations to have at least 1 disability-friendly branch ie with wheelchair access.
Someone raised the issue of statements in Braille for those who are visually impaired (and I was dismayed to learn that blind people get short-changed by unscrupulous people. Especially as they cannot differentiate between bank notes-waow, another insight into the world of visual impairment). The issue of the use of Sign Language Intepreters in banks was something that Sanusi appreciated. Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to explain that not all deaf people use sign language -and the use of telecoil (but how many deaf people wear hearing-aids in Nigeria? And how many have the T-function?). Not to worry, I met the Head of HR dept and I will be contacting her to inform her of the different groups of deaf people.
I never paid much attention to the 'retrenchment of PWDs' from the industry until someone brought it up. I understand that this happens a lot with mobility-challenged people. I am, however, very curious to know if a deaf person has been retrenched. Sanusi gave us a touching story of how he offered a job to a bright United Nations employee whose two legs got blown off during the fateful United Nations bombing in Abuja last year. It is very interesting to note that about 6 wheelchair users are employed by CBN and officially no deaf.
However when I got to speak with the head of HRdepartment, Ms. Mojekwu, I had a clearer picture of the situation. She explained that she needs deaf people to come in to teach them (smart lady!). Obviously, it is going to be difficult to recruit deaf people if one has no idea what to expect and how to treat them decently. So I expect that very soon, their disability-friendship will include deaf people. Yay! Banks are public places and I think that it would be a good thing if disability desks are rolled into many banks. Good publicity initiative for PWDs. And good disability-awareness for disability-naive people.
Sanusi has done very well! He even talked about the strategies of encouraging married women spend more time with their families by....working from home. You all know that I don't get impressed that easily... Cool and from what I have seen so far, he a mere talker. He also talked about service as he was taught in a Catholic school. See, I really was paying attention! So I hope that I am forgiven for not informing him that not all deaf use sign language as a means of communicating.
So bank customers in Nigeria, do me a favor and let me know which bank is the first to be disability/deaf-friendly! I'll take it upon myself to ensure that deaf people patronise it. So bring it on!
And someone made my day by informing me that her friend is going to address NASS....with sign language. I'd love to be there to see their reactions.
PS..... I know....photos. I owe you guys those from last week. I am expecting a copy of the group photo taken at CBN so that goes up when I receive it.