The Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older People in Nigeria (COSROPIN), has advocated the creation of a special ministry for older people to help cushion effects of COVID-19 among them.
Sen. Eze Ajoku, President of the coalition made the appeal.
Ajoku said that the essence of creating the Ministry of Older People Affairs was to adequately cater to both the medical and social needs of older people.
He condemned the manner some state governments abandon their senior citizens resulting in an increasing number of deaths and sufferings among the rural older people, especially during the pandemic.
“Many of our older people are not being given attention and care by the government.
“No social protection support of any form, even their pensions, are not paid by state governors.
“We appeal to the governors, who naturally would be old in the near future, to as a matter of necessity, designate a ministry to take care of older people,’’ Ajoku said.
The coalition president said that it was proper for the government at all levels, including the 774 local governments, to fashion out ways of addressing the plight of older persons.
They should be provided with adequate health coverage, housing, social infrastructure, economic relief, and more.
Ajoku commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the creation of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and urged the 36 state governors to domesticate the same.
According to him, the governors and chairmen of local governments have the obligation to do the same with whatever name to ensure older persons in their localities are well taken care of, especially to ensure grassroots reach.
Mr. Ajoku decried the situation where privileged older persons also hardly think of the suffering of rural older persons.
“We are handling the case of a 97-year-old Mrs. Iquo Akpan Umoh in Ukana Ikot Ofok (Ikot Ekpene) in Akwa Ibom, who has not been buried for over three years now because of no immediate relation to pay the burial levy imposed by the community.’’
The coalition boss called on the Akwa Ibom Government and all well-meaning individuals from the community to intervene and give this old woman a decent burial after three years of being abandoned in a mortuary.
Ajoku said COSROPIN was saddened by the level of older persons’ abuses and neglect going on nationwide.
“We believe the State Humanitarian Ministry for Older Persons will checkmate some of these abuses.’’
President Muhammadu Buhari created the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to specifically take care of the vulnerable persons in Nigeria, including older people.