A lecturer in the department of Political Science, University of Benin (UNIBEN), Dr. Osaretin Idahosa; and founder, Advocate for Good Governance, Austin Osakwe, have appealed to governments to pay more attention to the needs of albinos to give them a sense of belonging in the society.
They frowned at the stigmatisation and discrimination of the albinos by governments and individuals.Speaking at an event organised by The Albinos Network Association of Nigeria (TANA) themed ‘Still Standing Strong’ to mark the International Albinism. Awareness Day in Benin City, Edo State, the duo said it was the duty of government at all levels to attend to the plights of albinos in Nigeria.
“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,” they asserted.
Idahosa urged governments to create conducive environments for albinos to strive, as he charged albinos to always celebrate themselves so that people would celebrate them more.
Adding that albinos have the capacity to become leaders, he implored parents to educate their children on the right mindset and attitude towards albinos.
The don revealed that from his research, about five million albinos were in Africa, 40 per cent of them in Nigeria.He called for integration of albinos into the society to make them happy and contribute to development. Osakwe advised albinos to mobilise themselves to chart the course that would address their needs. He urged them to organise a rally, seminar or workshop that would address current problems disturbing them.
Senior Registrar in the Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Dr. Fidelis Ozoba, debunked the rumour that albinos were not supposed to take salt and pepper. He explained that they were meant to take salt and pepper with moderation.
Ozoba added that the technology used in detecting the gene in their system was not available in Nigeria yet, and appealed to them to take care of their skin since it is sensitive to the sun.
Expressing disappointment over government’s neglect and lack of concern for the albinos, Edo State coordinator of TANA, lbrahim Momoh, lamented that government at all levels had abandoned the two million albinos in Nigeria.
According to Momoh, the cost of treating albino’s skin cancer is prohibitive compared to sickle cell patients that get free treatment with subsidies for their illness.