Frustrated by Govt Negligence, Gombe Visually Impaired Children Abandoned School for Begging

In Gombe State, many visually impaired out-of-school children and other physically challenged people are forced to abandon school for alms begging as the state government failed to support their education.

Abdullahi Mohammed, Chairman of the National Association for the Blind (NAB) in Gombe, told WikkiTimes that lack of government support is frustrating the education of the union’s members.

The chairman who spoke to WikkiTimes yesterday, said many visually impaired persons in Gombe now beg on the streets because they cannot afford to be in school.

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In 2020, the Gombe State Government established four schools for children with special needs in the three senatorial districts of the state. The schools include: Government Science Secondary School Kaltungo; Government Secondary School Dukku; Government Secondary School Dadinkowa and the Government Girls Secondary School Doma.

“The special schools will be given adequate attention to be able to produce students who will be filling the state’s quota in the Nigerian universities and other higher institutions,” the then Commissioner of Education, Dr. Habu Dahiru, had said.

But Mohammed said the Special Needs Education Centres established by the state government no longer cater for the needs of the students as it was in the past.

“The government used to give monthly allowance and take some responsibilities of the special needs students,” he said. “It used to keep some of them off the streets. But today, students have to pay at least N2,500 for PTA levy alone, it discourages them from schooling because they can’t afford it.”

“Most of them come from less privileged families, so they can’t afford it. Therefore, you will find some of the students on the streets sometimes begging. So if an educated person who can at least afford to be in school is forced to beg, what about those ones that are not literate?” he asked.

He argued that the prevalence of poverty amongst visually impaired persons is not unconnected to the lack of access to education in the state.

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The NAB chairman, therefore, called on the Gombe State government to reinstate those allowances and make education affordable to encourage the visually impaired to attend schools and become better equipped for the future.

At press time, an enquiry sent to Ismail Uba Misilli, spokesperson for Gombe State governor, Inuwa Yahaya, had not been responded to.

The visually impaired alongside other persons with disabilities usually roam the streets and other public gatherings in Gombe seeking charity to survive.

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