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Sign Older Persons’ rights bill, workshop urges Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has again been urged to accent to the Older Persons (Rights and Privileges) Bill 2020.

Both chambers of the National Assembly passed the bill last year, which aims to address the social and economic challenges triggered by aging.

In a communiqué issued at the end of a workshop organised in Abuja by the Dewdrop Foundation, participants also called for the establishment of units in all Local Government Areas (LGAs) for reporting cases of abuse of older persons; a law specifying the appropriate punishment for abusers of older persons; and sensitisation and awareness creation on the menace of abuse of older persons.

Among dignitaries at the “Dissemination Workshop on Baseline Survey on the Care of the Elderly in Nigeria” were former Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Iyom Josephine Anenih; the President of the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), Senator Eze Darlington Ajoku; and the Executive Director, Mrs Agatha Nnaji.

The workshop’s resolution also included the setting of of eldercare management, sensitisation and awareness creation on the menace of abuse of older persons; education and family reorientation on the care of older persons; developing of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials for the National Orientation Agency to lead in the creation of awareness in the communities; establishment of functional nursing homes in all LGAs especially for vulnerable older persons; and establishment of geriatric units in all primary healthcare centres in all LGAs.

Other include establishment of social and recreational centres in all LGAs; capacity building and regular retraining of caregivers and health professionals; provision of social safety net based on appropriate needs assessment and data collections; skills acquisition and training of older persons who can in turn contribute to the economy; skills impartation from the older generation to the younger ones; unconditional cash transfer to the older persons; encouraging governments, faith-based, community-based, and non-governmental organisations to establish and operate food pantries; establishment of specialised units and designated lines in public areas for older persons; establishment of social and community support structure involving the community, religious and opinion leaders; and encouraging of private sector involvement of older persons.

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq was represented by Comrade Salifu Abdul, who also served as member of the Communique Committee.

Other members of the Communique Committee included: Rev. Sr. Mary Jude-Therese Nwodo of the Pietan Caring Mission for the Poor; Mrs. Bridget Mark Udoaka of Brimax Care Foundation; Mrs. Azuka Egbuonu of Care for Adolescent and Women Development Initiative; Mr. Olayinka Ajomale of Centre on Ageing Development and Rights of Older Persons; and Margaret Chichi Nkire of Leadership Empowerment and Development Innovation Initiative Africa.

Earlier this month, Dewdrop Foundation had orgamised another workshop in Abuja which focused on “Community of Practice on Eldercare and Discrimination”.

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

Anenih, Ajoku and Nnaji were among those who lamented that still suffered social isolation in the country, and made a strong case for advocacy and awareness among stakeholders as part of the efforts towards addressing changes that come with old age.




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