Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) has lamented the condition of many older persons in the country even as the country Marks 60 years of independence.
The President of the coalition, Sen. Eze Ajoku, while while congratulating the country on her 60th anniversary celebration in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, said the state of many senior citizens was disturbing.
Ajoku, who regretted the dearth of quality healthcare facilities targeted at older persons to assist them in the ageing process was not helping matters.
He said “there are no healthcare facilities and policies targeted at older persons. Most community healthcare centres are not functioning.
“There is no social security and incentives for them, that is why many people become nervous approaching the 60 years retirement age.
“There is no plan for older persons who are suffering from non communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and some of them who are suffering from dementia are being branded as witches and wizards.
“So the older persons are not enjoying any form of sympathy or benefit from Nigerians and government.”
The coalition leader, therefore, called for a comprehensive health plan for older persons, and urged Nigerian to rise to the responsibilities of giving the much needed care to older persons.
According to him, government should begin to give discount for drugs of older persons suffering from non communicable diseases.
Ajoku emphasised the imperatives of giving priority to older persons, noting that Nigerian leaders were dominantly older persons.
“The poor, the needy, the frail looking older persons are appealing to the leaders who are also older persons to give priority attention to senior citizens,” he appealed.
He also urged government to aggregate the data of older persons in the country, using community based system “for adequate planning and administration.”
He said “you can get data of older persons in two weeks from communities through councillors who represent the areas.”
Ajoku stressed that Nigeria at 60 had attained old age and therefore ought to rise to the aspirations of older persons in terms of healthcare and social security.