By Abujah Rachel
Abuja, Oct. 16, 2020 The Dave Omokaro Foundation (DOF) has called on Nigerians to pay attention to the plight of old people and take steps to alleviate their sufferings.
Mrs Emem Omokaro, the Director of the foundation, made the call on Friday in Abuja on the sidelines of a public hearing by the Senate Committee on Women Affairs for the amendment of two bills.
Naija247news reports that the bills include the “Older Persons’ Rights and Priviledges Act, 2020” and “The Child’s Rights Act 2003’’.
Omakaro urged Nigerians to do away with the notion that elderly persons had nothing to contribute to the society.
“Older persons over the years have faced serious discrimination and it has become systemic.
“When I say the discrimination is systemic, I am saying that it is in the institutions. It is in the lack of inclusion and inequality.
“We have the stereotype that older persons are spent and have nothing to contribute,” she said.
The founder called on government to initiate a social protection policy targeted at older persons.
“In African, we can create a long term care system that is a hybrid where we have aging in the home, care in the home but we have a combination of medical, social and the community care.
“That is where our primary health care comes in to be modified to tackle geriatric management.
“We need to train community health workers so they integrate with the older person and when there is need for referral, then they can move to higher medical facilities,’’ she said.
Omakoro said that the bill was the first attempt to bring out Nigerian older persons in an effort to determine their rights and priviledges.
She noted that the bill provided for some discounts for older persons in private hospitals whereas it wasn’t obtainable in Federal Government hospitals where most of the older persons are attended to.
NAN reports that the bill was sponsored by Sen. Ibikunle Amosun from Ogun, who said that the bill was read for the first time on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, while the second reading took place on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Amosun said that the bill when passed, would ensure that any person convicted of attempted rape was declared unsuitable to work with children.
He said, “Apart from the existing punitive measures in relation to sexual offences against children, the thrust of this bill is preventive in nature.
“And it is in line with the time-tested wisdom that says `prevention is better than cure’.
“This bill further gives protection to the Nigerian child against sexual violence and abuse suffered in the hands of caregivers and others.
“Of whom for lack of appropriate legal restrictions, have found themselves in positions that give them undue advantage and access to the children,’’ he said.