Senate Passes Older Persons Rights Bill, Amends Child’s Right Act

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By Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu

The Senate at plenary on Tuesday approved the passage of the Older Persons (Rights and Privileges) Bill 2020 and an amendment to the Child’s Right Act of 2003.

The passage of the bills followed the adoption of reports by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs, Senator Betty Apiafi.

The upper chamber, had last year organised an event to get stakeholders’ input into the two bills.

Presenting the reports, Apiafi said the amendment of the Child’s Right Act will make anyone convicted of sexual offence unfit to work with children.

She said it would give protection to the Nigerian child against any form of sexual violence and abuse suffered in the hands of caregivers and others.

Contributing, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan underscored the need for the federal government to ensure the protection of the girl child in Nigeria.

Lawan said efforts must be made by government at all levels to prioritise the protection of the girl child from violence, rape and all forms of discrimination.

Similarly, the Bill on Older Persons (Right and Privileges), according to Apiafi, is aimed at addressing the social and economic challenges triggered by aging and the need for government to formulate policies that would incorporate the elderly and cater for their well-being.

The Bill, she said, further provides for a fine of N2 million or N200,000 from organisations or individuals respectively found to have discriminated against older persons.

She said: ”Without prejudice to this Bill, any prosecution, conviction or otherwise of any person for any offence under this Bill, does not preclude the right of the victim to maintain a civil action against any such person committing the offence or causing injury.

”Government shall ensure that older persons enjoy the right to adequate standard of living, including the right to food, water, clothing and housing and to improve their living conditions without discrimination on the basis of age. Government shall ensure the provision of seats in walkways, other public facilities specifically designed for the comfort of older persons.”