The Federal government has promised to continue to provide partnerships that will accelerate investments in older persons in the country.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Umar Farouq gave the assurance on Monday, at a meeting of the Ministry, its Agencies and a United Nations Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights of Older Persons, Ms Claudia Mahler in Abuja.
The Minister explained that a lot of policies have already been established by the federal government to reduce discrimination against Older Persons and encourage inclusion .
“The Federal Government is making concerted efforts to direct the domestication and establishment of Senior Citizens Centres at the sub-national levels, in collaboration with the States and Local Governments. A Bill on the Rights and Privileges of Older Persons in the country has been passed by both chambers of the National Assembly and is awaiting assent into Law by Mr. President. This will be yet another instrument deployed in strengthening specific human rights of older persons.
“To curb discrimination and accelerate integration of older persons in National Development Plan, the Centre has established Ageing Desks and trained 64 desk officers on Ageing Policy planning and implementation in 32 ministries, departments and agencies. Older persons’ issues are being mainstreamed in all sector policies, strategic implementation plans, programs, services and budget lines. So far, the mainstreaming of Integrated care for older persons into States Primary Health Care schemes through partnerships with WHO and National Primary Health Care Development Agencies is being piloted in the FCT and Adamawa State.
“While looking forward to receiving your findings and recommendations, I wish to assure you that in the next five years, with the multi-sectoral partnerships and synergies created across Federal, States and Local governments, Nigeria commits to continuing to provide a strong passionate and committed leadership to accelerate investments in its older population for strengthened human rights, improved quality of life and enjoyment of all older persons including those living with disabilities and cognitive impairments”.
In her opening remarks, Ms Claudia Mahler stated that her visit to Nigeria is to have an overview of Nigeria’s ongoing efforts at addressing the rights of older persons.
Ms Mahler said that her team will also hold cluster meetings on thematic subjects including policy and legal frameworks as well as strategic plans on Ageing.
“We desire to assess Nigeria’s mechanisms and processes in strengthening the protection of the rights of older persons to identify best practices in Nigeria that can be promoted or possible gaps in the implementation of national, regional and international standards that may be relevant to the rights of older persons. We are here to identify the challenges faced by older persons as well as those hindering the realization of the rights of older persons, with a view to making related recommendations to address them”.
In the meeting was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr Nasir Sani -Gwarzo, the Heads of various agencies under the Ministry, Directors of the Ministry and other stakeholders.
NNEKA IKEM ANIBEZE