In recognition of the UN General Assembly’s declaration of Tuesday as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), following a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, I-Care Initiative For The Aged, has joined the whole world to voice its opposition to abuse and suffering inflicted on the older generation in Nigeria.
The group said in a statement that it acknowledged that elder abuse as a global social issue affecting the health and human rights of millions of older persons around the world, including Nigeria and applauded the deservedly attention being given it by the international community.
“Ageing population issues constitute the fulcrum of post 2015 Sustainable Development goals (SDG) more so now that the population of older persons is fast increasing and their well-being dwindling especially in the third world countries. These changes have led to a worldwide recognition of the problems and challenges that face the elderly. Research has shown that elderly abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation are the biggest issues facing senior citizens. This is corroborated by the World Health Organisation data which reports that four to six per cent of the elderly suffer from some form of abuse; a large percentage of which goes unreported,” said the group.
I-Care Initiative noted that in Nigeria, poverty is widespread with older persons at higher risk, stressing that it is unfortunate that the federal government does not provide social security to older persons, while supports from families are fading out due to cash crunch and other economic realities.
The group alleged that the well-being of older persons is largely compromised, adding that due to the youthful nature of the Nigerian age structure, government surreptitiously believes that the health problems that manifest among children, youths and women require more alteration than that of the older persons.
“As a result, very little consideration is given to the older persons by policy makers. No policy or social security system is put in place to care for people in old age just as the primary healthcare system has no special provision for providing healthcare for the elderly even as the country’s overall health policy show little or no special concern for the aged. Retirees who served in public or private organizations in their youthfulness are often given gratuities and pensions which were deducted from their monthly salary when in active service. Most times, these dues are not received in their lifetime as a result of the bureaucratic system in the various organisations where they served,” the group added.
“At the I-Care initiative For The Aged, our desire is to give voice to the older persons in our midst as well as speak up for their fundamental human rights. Till date, the rights of older persons have not been included in Nigeria political priorities hence as a result, a lot more remains to be done so that the UN Charter on the rights of the older person is made visible in Nigeria,” the group added.