By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) has expressed concern over the increasing difficulties facing millions of aged people in the country.
The group, which put the population of those regarded as senior citizens between the ages of 70 and above at seven million, lamented that the level of neglect and deprivations being suffered by them was enormous.
In a communique issued at the end of a conference in Abuja which was attended by delegates, COSRROPIN urged the federal and state governments to 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.
The communiqué, signed by the Coalition’s President, Senator Darlington Eze Ajoku, asked the next National Assembly to reintroduce the “Bill for an Act to provide for certain rights and Privileges of Older Persons” submitted to the Senate President in February, 2018.
He called on federal and state governments to establish geriatric hospitals all over to specially address diseases usually associated with old age, such as diabetes, hypertension, eye problems, arthritis and waste pains.
On the group’s assessment of the commitment of successive governments towards providing for the wellbeing of retirees and elderly ones in the country, Ajoku said the situation has been that of neglect and abandonment.
He said that none of the administrations has implemented any deliberate policy targeted at assisting the senior citizens in their old age condition.
“Successive governments have not done much about the sufferings of the elderly persons, they don’t even bother about the elderly persons. That is why our organisation is determined to push this cause, so that government can wade in and help provide for the welfare of the older ones in the society. We believe that aging is not by accident niether is it a cause,” he said.
On her part, the National Secretary of the group, May Ikoku said that they are engaging in the struggle for the rights of the senior citizens so as to ensure that the coming generation of older persons does not suffer what others are going through presently.