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Blind lawyer laments life in Nigeria

Thu, 04/13/2017 - 10:35 -- geeta.nair

He is brilliant, outspoken and handsome. But Joseph Bulugbe, a lawyer, is unhappy not because he not sighted but because of his inability to secure a job five years after bagging a second degree in Law. He says he is tired of life in Nigeria.
Bulugbe graduated with a 2.1 both from University of Lagos (Unilag) in 2009, and University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK) in 2012.
The man, who hails from Ago-Iwoye in Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State, said the feat he recorded at Unilag earned him a scholarship from some members of his church. Touched by Bulugbe’s academic brilliance, they raised money to help him study Law in the UK.
In an interview, Bulugbe sounded distraught and frustrated even when he has a blessed voice that could win him a Grammy Award if he were a singer.
“It is frustrating because whenever l remember that I don’t have a job and can’t meet my simple, family responsibilities, I really feel sad and depressed. I strongly believe that I have suffered enough and I deserve a job to live a fulfilled life,” he lamented.
He was not born blind, he said. His parents told him that he only suffered partial blindness from birth, a situation which the parents thought they could manage or would improve with time. Despite their varying orthodox, medical and other interventions, the vivacious young man haplessly lost his full sight eventually.
Bulugbe, who is now in his early 40s, recalled how total blindness struck him in 1995 when he began to experience a certain indescribable darkness. Then, he was overcome by apprehension and uncertainty.
He said from then on, things never remained the same for him. Life became burdensome and generally tougher than he ever envisaged. He said it was more worrisome that the society also looked down on the blind by way of discrimination and gross-neglect.
In spite of the challenges that stared him in the face, he refused to allow his condition to weigh him down.
He told the reporter that when he was offered admission to read Law at Unilag, he was full of praises to God. His family members all rallied round him and contributed to making his stay on campus memorable.
He recalled that the university environment came with its own challenges, but his few friends stood by him. As it is with all visually-impaired students, Bulugbe depended on his classmates to read out his lecture notes to him after school hours; this he would type and convert into Braille. It was a ritual he needed to go through in all the courses he offered at the university.
Daily Sun gathered that he had to work extra hard to meet up with his sighted classmates. He saw every reason to put on a fighting spirit, especially to make his family members, who had spent so much money on him proud. Indeed, he achieved the target and graduated with a 2.1; only 20 of his mates could achieve the feat out of 300.
After his graduation, he said the journey became more frustrating when he was told that he got his certificate on sympathy rather than merit.
But Bulugbe proved his critics all wrong when he shone brilliantly at University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, where he earned his Master’s in Law, again graduating top of his class.
“If the Nigerian system had given me the certificate based on empathy, how then did I also leave Aberdeen top of my class? The White will not give you anything you don’t merit; why then do Nigerians doubt my ability at Unilag? That is one of the greatest challenges we face as blind people in Nigeria. People don’t believe in us for reasons that I am yet to understand.”
To further equip himself, he travelled to the UK for the second time in 2014, for a specialised course. He did all that to strengthen his Curriculum Vitae (CV), so that he would be able to secure a job when he returned to home.
Unfortunately, three years after, he is still searching for the white collar job; even now, his hope of securing the elusive job seems dimming with the ticking of the clock.
“Since I returned from the UK, I have made tremendous efforts to secure a job from the Federal and even my state government. I have gone to Abuja several times for a job, but up till this moment, I have not heard or got anything. I’m still jobless with my qualifications,” he lamented.
Bulugbe said there was no basis for comparing learning, as a blind student in Nigeria and the UK. Both, according to him, was like comparing the dead with the living.
“In sincerity, the only time l ever enjoyed learning was while l was at Aberdeen. The reason is that everything is Internet-based over there. The university has online library where I would simply key in my school user’s name and read all the textbooks and journals l needed with ease.”
He said he wouldn’t have returned to Nigeria in search of job, if he had been called to the English Bar.


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