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End discrimination, neglect of older persons – Stakeholders

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Stakeholders at a workshop in Abuja on Thursday advocated an end to discrimination, neglect and all forms of abuse against older persons in Nigeria.

President, Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), Senator Eze Darlington Ajoku said that it was unfortunate that older persons still suffered social isolation in the country.

The workshop was organised by Dewdrop Foundation and focused on “Community of Practice on Eldercare and Discrimination”.

Executive Director, Dewdrop Foundation, Mrs Agatha Nnaji called for advocacy and awareness among stakeholders as part of the efforts towards addressing changes that come with old age.

Nnaji, who reiterated the imperatives of sharing knowledge on the changes that come with old age, said that old age was a blessing.

According to her, in Enugu, the organisation created Senagers Association as part of the efforts to close the disconnect between the young and older persons.

Former Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Josephine Anenih said respect and reverence for older persons was important in addressing moral decadence in the society.

Anenih, who described older persons as reservoir of knowledge, said they should not be discriminated against or discarded. Rather that they should be cherished.

She therefore called for an end to the abuse and discrimination of older persons by the younger persons.

The Programme Coordinator, Voice in Nigeria, Mrs Ijeoma Okwor identified inability of elders to speak out as against abuse as reasons why abuse and poverty among them had persisted.

Okwor said her organisation would continue to support programmes and workshops that would boost awareness on the plight of older persons with a view to protecting and empowering them.

Three months ago, COSROPIN urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Older Persons (Rights and Privileges) Bill 2020.

While unveiling the National Corporate Senior Citizens Initiative Award in Abuja, Ajoku said both chambers of the National Assembly passed the bill last year, which aims to address the social and economic challenges triggered by aging.

He, however, said that the lack of data on older persons in the country was making it difficult for government to formulate policies that would incorporate the elderly and cater for their well being.

Ajoku insisted that older persons have the right to social protection, including income security without discrimination on the basis of age, gender or health status.

(NAN)

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