By Gbade Ogunwale, Abuja and Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) on Monday called for the empowerment and protection of people living with albinism.
He spoke during a virtual event marking World Albinism Day with the theme: “Strength beyond all odds”.
In a statement by his spokesman Mr Laolu Akande, Osinbajo said: “There is a need to see it for what it is, a genetic difference not a contagious disease or a public health problem.”
Osinbajo said there was the need to “have frank and robust conversations around the protection and empowerment of our compatriots that live with albinism”.
“These conversations will drive change in the public domain, where sociocultural perceptions of Albinism that are rooted in ignorance and superstition can finally be laid to rest.
“We must also go further to take deliberate steps as private individuals and public servants by giving them equal opportunity in the workplace and in social settings as well,” Osinbajo said.
The wife of the Kebbi State Governor, Dr Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, urged Nigerians to show love, care and support to those with albinism and not discriminate against them.
She made the call at the disbursement of COVID-19 Relief Support to persons living with.
Dr Bagudu, who is a strong advocate of social inclusion, said the society needs to change its discriminatory stance against albinos.
She urged Nigerians to be aware that albinos, due to their lack of melanin, are vulnerable to skin cancers and eye defects and need financial support to purchase sunscreen and full-body covering clothes right from childhood.
Assistant Coordinator, Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Muktar Alkali, said the United Nations endorsed the International Albinism Awareness Day every June 13 since 2013 to raise awareness on Albinism.