Stakeholders call for protection of Older persons

Rahila Lassa, Abuja

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Stakeholders in the Humanitarian space have called for the deliberate protection of Older persons with dignity.

The submission was made in Abuja, Nigeria as part of activities marking the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Nasir Gwarzo said due to the growing concerns by families and communities, the Ministry has developed policies and strategies to give the older persons some sense of belonging.

“We also have some social interventions in which senior citizens are not left behind so as to help them reduce their vulnerability and make them independent,” Gwarzo emphasized

The Director General of the National Senior citizens Center, Emem Omakaro said beyond the biological ageing which most people are aware of, is the social and psychological ageing which results from the way society perceives and treats the older persons.

“Whichever way, population ageing-has profound consequences for every aspect of individual, community, national and international life, positively or negatively.

“For the positive to occur we must combat Ageism. The negative stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination against older people.

“Institutional and inter-personal ageism are fundamental factors that determine ways that governments, non-governmental organizations, and other actors in societies perceive, interact with and care for their older citizens.”

Ageism is the reason abuse thrives, abuse occur where older persons lose their independence and autonomy, where they are faced with vulnerability and have needs they cannot meet because they are excluded from accessing benefits of development; where the system’s exclusion makes older persons vulnerable.

Omokaro noted that the theme: Inclusive Nigeria Campaign Against Ageism, Mobilizing National age-friendly support networks for older persons, draws its fundamental drive from the mission of National Senior Citizens Centre to cause a fundamental positive change in perception, attitude and paradigm about ageing, old age and an inclusive society.

“We collectively must be intentional about stopping abuse of older persons, promoting optimistic view of ageing, mobilizing society in their varied sectors and building networks of support for older persons, to optimize the living conditions of older persons,” She added.

For his part, the President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chris Isiguzo said, state governments must demosticate the Older persons right Acts to ensure effective protection of their dignity.

“When you refuse to care for the elderly around you, it’s simple abuse,” Isigozo added.

Isiguzo called for the sustenance of the Center.


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