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Society calls for national policy on elderly



Mr Yinka Ajomale, the National Coordinator of the Nigeria Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics (NSGC), has called for a national policy on the affairs of the elderly in the country.

Ajomale made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja,

He said the country had no specific law that could cater for the needs of the elderly, except the one in the constitution which provided for the right of all.

According to him, South Africa and Ghana have specific laws that protect the rights of the elderly, but in Nigeria there are no such laws.

The coordinator described the situation as not only ridiculous, but bad and against the fundamental human right of the elderly.

“A lot of abuse and atrocities were committed against the elderly in Nigeria and in most cases these atrocities continued unchecked.

“Lack of political will from government and inability of the National Assembly to enact a law that could cater for them remained the bane of their predicaments.

“There is the need to call stakeholders to agree on a working document to address the menace of abuse of the elderly in the country,’’ he said.

Ajomole lamented that there was no concrete policy formulation and implementation process on the elderly in Nigeria, stressing that there was no coordinated collection of relevant data on older persons.

He said that the dearth of research data on the aged in Nigeria constituted a major setback in understanding the current status of older persons.

According to him, NSGC has remained committed to enhancing the older persons’ capacities to remain productive members of society and challenged discrimination against the elderly.

“Mobilisation and mapping of resources, actors, institutions, allies, targets and creating a stakeholder consultation environment, are very essential to understanding the position of the elderly in Nigeria,” he said.

Ajomole said that developing a shared vision and common standpoint with passionate people on aging, would contribute to the NSGG strategic relationships.

“This vision will help in the sensitisation and education of people to change their attitude towards the elderly.

“It will further create expectation and form perspectives on effective elderly policy formulation and implementation in Nigeria.

“NSGG will remain an umbrella body of all organisations working on the issues of gerontology and geriatrics in Nigeria.

“To mitigate the trend in elder abuse and stigmatisation, the Nigerian government should provide a clear policy for the elderly,’’ he explained.

According to him, there is need to identify and coordinate existing ageing data from various agencies, such as the National Population Commission (NPC).

“We are planning a national meeting for Lagos in September this year. We would have done it last year, but for paucity of funds.