Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria, COSROPIN, on Wednesday commended the members of the senate for concerted efforts in the passage of the Older Persons Rights and Privileges Bill.
Recall that the bill, Older Persons (Rights and Privileges) Bill 2019, sponsored by Sen. Ezenwa Onyewuchi, was read for the first time on Nov. 7, 2019 and the second time on March 17, 2020.
Sen Eze Ajoku, President of the coalition, gave the commendation in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mr Ajoku, who lauded the commitment of the Senate especially the Senator Betty Apiafi-led Senate committee on Women Affairs, said the bill if assented to would address numerous social and economic challenges confronting the ageing population.
He expressed joy over the passage of the bill saying that it would galvanise the right set of policies required to equip the Nigerian society to address the challenges of older persons.
“Some of the challenges facing the elderly in Nigeria include challenges of retirement, ageism, and social isolation among others.
“The bill after concurrence at the House of Representatives and assented to by the President will provide certain rights and privileges for older persons in order to ensure health and economic reliefs and protection for their social and civil rights,’’ he said.
Mr Ajoku explained that it would strengthen the protection of the rights of older persons by identifying the peculiar human rights situation of older persons by reason of age.
He said that issues of stereotypes and discrimination against the older persons would be a thing of the past.
According to him, it will address other matters such as systemic and interpersonal prejudice, stereotype and discrimination against older persons.
The president expressed optimism that the law had the capacity to bring about integration of older persons in development and to ensure age friendly environment.
He explained that matters of ageism would be permanently addressed as well as prescribing punitive measures where older persons’ rights were denied.
Mr Ajoku, who lauded President Muhammdu Buhari for promoting older persons friendly policies, said the recent approval of National policy on ageing was a clear demonstration of this administration’s commitment to improving the life of older persons.
He, however, appealed for the President’s early signing of the bill into law whenever it is passed to him in affirmation of his strong will to enhancing quality of life for older persons.
Congratulating older persons, Ajoku assured them of an improved living and brighter future that would be older persons friendly.
“Older persons shall have the right to adequate standard of living including the right to food, clothing and housing, and to improve their living conditions without discrimination on the basis of age.
“An older person shall have right to safe and smooth movement on streets, walkways, gatherings and physical structures free of unreasonable physical contact from other persons.
“Including public health, preventive medicine, palliative care and rehabilitation. They shall enjoy medical and travel discounts,” he said.
According to him, older persons shall be given the first consideration in queues and public spaces and as much as possible they shall be attended to outside the queue.
“Older persons shall be entitled to social safety nets to cushion the effects of economic shocks, disasters and calamities.
“Public buildings shall be constructed and provided with the necessary accessibility and mobility aids such as lifts for multi level buildings, ramps, wheel chairs, automated or manual transportation carriers,’’ he said.
The coalition boss, who reiterated his commendation of the Senate, said the law would prohibit all discriminations against older persons.
Mr Ajoku congratulated members of COSROPIN and other stakeholders on ageing for this passage, saying it was their commitment and dogged efforts that have made this possible.
He said that older person would always appreciate what Onyewuchi and his colleagues had done for them.
“We are hopeful that Nigeria will surely be better for all in spite of the current challenges.’’
NAN reports that the bill which was read for the third time on Tuesday would be concurred with in the lower chambers of the National Assembly for onward assent by President Buhari.