August 20, 2011- Shagari Calls For Quick Passage of Albinism Bill in Nigeria
Ex-President Shehu Shagari has called on the House of Representatives to fast track the passage of the bill seeking to establish National Agency for Albinism and Hypo-pigmentation (NAAH).
He made the call when a delegation from Albino Foundation paid a courtesy visit to Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, in Abuja on Thursday.
Shagari, who is the Grand Patron of the Foundation, urged the House to conduct a public hearing on the bill to hasten its passage.
Represented by former Senate President Joseph Wayas, Shagari said the delegation was at the House to press for passage of the bill.
“We are here today to engage the leadership and entire membership of the House through the office of the Speaker in a meaningful and strategic dialogue over the overdue passage of the bill on NAAH,” he said.
The ex-president recalled that legislative process on the bill began in 2007 and had gone through the first and second readings in 2008 and 2009 respectively. He noted, however, that a public hearing on the bill scheduled for 2010 had yet to be held.
Shagari, therefore, urged the legislature to come to the aid of albinos dying of skin cancers across the country by establishing a special fund to address the challenges faced by its members.
He also called on the House to implement the Federal Government’s free skin cancer treatment project.
The Speaker, in his remarks, assured the delegation that the House would reintroduce the bill as soon as it resumed plenary, adding that the House would ensure a speedy passage of the bill.
Tambuwal promised that the House would also partner with the Foundation on its national conference holding in Sokoto next month.
Earlier, Mr Jake Epelle, the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, lamented that albinos faced many challenges, adding that many of them were currently suffering from skin cancer.
According to him, more than two million Nigerians are albinos.