By Esther Atani, The Sight News
The promotion and protection of all human rights is fundamental in the achievement of an inclusive society in which older persons participate fully, without discrimination and on the basis of equality.
The reality though, is that the experiences of older persons and the particular context of old age is still not sufficiently addressed in Nigeria. With a population of 5.9 million older persons in Nigeria, only 4 percent of that population is pensioned.
These were concerns raised by Dr Emem Omokaro, Executive Director of Dave Omokaro Foundation, Convener and Co-chair of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing Africa (SGA- Africa), at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, December 2, 2019.
Calling for more concerted efforts, Dr Omokaro expressed desire for an increased consciousness of the rights of aging individuals as their rights and desires were often ignored during the policy making process, with emphasis often laid on other vulnerable groups in the society.
There was a need, she said, to lay down a policy framework aimed at centering the older person as a bonafide rights holder deserving of participating in the perpetuation and development of the country.
She called on the media, as major stakeholders in the ageing discussion, to draw attention to the policy gaps in the national development agenda in issues like universal healthcare and social protection that overlooked aging persons in their provisions.
Commending the present administration for passing the National Senior Citizens’ Centre Act in 2018, she called for speedy implementation of the policy and the inclusion of funding targeted towards aging persons in Social Protection Programmes.
Also speaking, a Faculty Member of Dave Omokaro Foundation Africa Institute on Ageing and Development (DOFRIAD) and Community Physician, Dr Felix Dariya, called for the modification of primary healthcare centres to include sections catering to the health challenges of older persons.
He also stressed the need for training and re-orienting healthcare workers to equip them with necessary skills for the proper care of aging individuals.
Speaking to The Sight News in an interview, the Registrar of Dave Omokaro Foundation Africa Institute on Ageing and Development (DOFRIAD), Mallam Ibrahim Yariya, challenged the media to drive serious discussion and play a role in mounting pressure on the Nigerian government to address policy gaps in issues affecting older persons.