…Says Commission will curb corruption in public service
By Chris Ochayi – Abuja
The over fifteen million senior citizens in the country have called on the Federal Government to establish a Commission for aging and Elderly people in order to address their plights.
The senior citizens operating under the aegis of Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria, COSROPIN, argued that the establishment of the Commission would curb sharp practices by public servants.
Senator Eze Ajoku, President of the coalition, Senator Eze Ayoku who made the call at a news conference in Abuja, noted that some of those planning to retire devise various means, scheme and corrupt practices to remain in service since there are no concrete plans for care and support services for the aged.
He said that the commission was necessary to provide an environment that could encourage and promote active living for all aged groups aimed at fostering social capital and a sense of community living.
Ajoku also urged governments at all levels to also establish geriatric hospitals to improve primary health care all over the country to specifically address aging and age-related issues.
The COSROPIN President reiterated calls for speedy passage of their bill before the National Assembly to enable legal backing for the welfare of older persons in the country.
Njoku said it was resolved during the 2nd National Conference on Ageing that, “The Government should consider the establishment of a Commission for Ageing and Elderly Persons, with a view to providing an environment which encourages and promotes active living for all aged groups and fosters social capital and sense of community living.
“That the Federal and State Governments to establish geriatric hospitals, improve primary health care all over the country to specifically address aging and age-related ailments.
“Government to factor older persons especially those in rural areas into social security schemes.
“Governments at all levels to appoint desk officers domiciled in their appropriate MDAs to carter for matters related to the aged and elderly;
“Mr. President and the State Governors to appoint Senior Special Assistants on Ageing and Older Persons, having noted that this was the only member of the venerable groups whose interest has not received appropriate attention at the highest governance.
“The National Assembly to ensure speedy passage of the COSROPIN Bill and any other bill on the welfare of older persons into law, to enable necessary legal backing for the welfare and wellbeing of older persons in Nigeria.
“Government should establish social welfare funds for the needs of the unemployed and those that are exposed to, and endangered by natural disasters, and habitation displacements, not covered by the Pensions Act 2004, Military Pension Scheme or Private Pension Scheme.”
COSROPIN also demanded that “Nigerian workers in both public and private sector should begin to demand from their employers, policies that will cater to their wellbeing at old age.
“Appeal to employers of labour, both public and private to develop and implement social welfare packages for their employees and retirees to encourage performance while in service.
Government at all levels should provide a line budgetary vote for older persons.
“Government should create a broad spectrum of social security schemes that encompasses the Old Aged Benefit Funds to cater to the needs of people 60 years and above.
“Government should review the existing social intervention program to include the older persons who are currently not captured in the social networks and are not pensionable.
“Government should train more social workers that will cater to the wellbeing of older persons in Nigeria. Retired medical personnel can be re-engaged and organized to participate in in-home care.
“Government should prioritize and institutionalize the care and wellbeing of the aged as well as combating abuse of the older person.
“Government should implement the National Senior Citizens Act 2018. COSROPIN hereby expresses its willingness to partner with the government in this regard.
“Government should set up a Presidential Committee on Social Security Policy to examine the outcomes of the Conference and come out with a thought-out national policy and strong implementation with special attention given to the rights and care of older persons.”