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Govt’s Failure To Pay Pensions, Abuse Of Older Persons—Ajoku

Senator Eze Ajoku, President, of the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), says the refusal of government at all levels to pay pensions to senior citizens and retirees amounts to financial abuse of older persons. Ajoku said this on Thursday in Abuja during the commemoration of the United Nations World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2023. He lamented that various forms of abuse were meted out to older persons in society without any punitive measures taken against the offenders. Ajoku emphasised the need for the signing of the Older Persons Rights and Privilege Bill by President Bola Tinubu to guarantee the protection of the rights of the elderly in society. According to him, the Bill seeks to confer privileges and benefits on older persons to enhance their quality of life as well as address the social and economic challenges confronting the elders. He explained that the challenges are triggered by ageing and the need for the government to formulate policies that would incorporate the elderly. He urged the government to treat older persons as a class of vulnerable people, calling for the provision of monthly social security stipends, free medical care, and older person homes in the country. Ajoku noted that the measures would go a long way in improving the quality of life for older persons in Nigeria. In his address, Dr Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, said the efforts of the Ministry led to the establishment of the National Senior Citizens Centre. Sani-Gwarzo represented by Mr Joseph Dzunguse, Focal Person for Older Persons in the Ministry, commended Senator Eze Ajoku and COSROPIN for working relentlessly to protect the rights, privileges and dignity of older persons in Nigeria. He, therefore, pledged the ministry’s partnership with COSROPIN in ensuring that older persons in Nigeria live a happy, healthy and productive life. In his remarks, the Director-General of Legal Aid Council, Abubakar Aliyu, said the Council provides free legal services for all Nigerians, including older persons. Aliyu represented by Mr Victor Labesa, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics in the Legal Aid Council, tasked the older persons to explore the services of the Council to seek redress whenever their rights are violated. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the United Nations World Elder Abuse Awareness is observed annually on June 15, to shed light on the global issue of elder abuse and promote the rights and well-being of older persons in society. The Older Persons Rights and Privilege Bill 2019 was passed by the two chambers of the National Assembly and transmitted to then-President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.

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