Bill to protect rights, privileges of older persons passes 2nd reading at Senate


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The Senate on Tuesday passed for second reading a bill to protect the rights and privileges of older persons in the country.

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Leading debate on the general principles of the bill,  sponsor of the bill, Sen. Ezenwa Francis (APC Imo), said the bill was first read on Nov. 7, 2019.

He said the bill sought to provide certain rights and privileges for older persons to ensure health, economic reliefs and protection for their social and civil rights.

He said the fast-growing number of older adults during the last few decades had impacted significantly on the political, economic, and social functions of societies in both industrialised and developing regions.

According to him, the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, had stated that  proportion of older persons aged 60 years and above make up 12.3 per cent of the global population.

He said the UN report had indicated that by 2050, that proportion would rise to almost 22 per cent.

“Like any other country in Sub-Saharan African, Nigeria’s elderly too is increasing rapidly.” he said.

He listed some of the challenges facing the elderly in Nigeria to include,  challenges of retirement, ageism, and social isolation among others.

He said the bill provided for as follows:

“Older persons shall have the right to social protection, including income security without discrimination on the basis of age or gender.

“Discrimination against older persons on the basis of age is prohibited.

“Older persons shall have 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.

“Older persons shall have the right to enjoy the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health and long term care without discrimination on the basis of age.

“Including public health, preventive medicine, palliative care and rehabilitation.

“An older person shall have right to safe and smooth movement on streets, walkways, gatherings and physical structures free of unreasonable physical contact from other persons.

“An older person shall have the right to enjoy preferential seating positions on taxis, buses, trains and other means of public transport.

“Older persons shall be given first consideration in queues and public spaces; and as much as possible they shall be attended to outside the queue.

“Older persons shall be safe-guarded from alliance situations of risks, including situations of violence, emergencies and the occurrences of natural disasters.

“Older persons shall be entitled to social safety nets to cushion the effects of economic shocks, disasters and calamities.

“Compels all sectors to integrate older persons in development and to ensure age.

“Older Persons shall be included in every National Action Programme on Income Generation of the State or Federal Government.

“Public buildings shall be constructed and provided with the necessary accessibility and mobility aids such as lifts for multi-level buildings, ramps, wheel chairs, automated or manual transportation carriers.

“And any other facility that shall make such facilities conveniently accessible and usable by older persons.

“Older persons shall enjoy safe and convenient usage of side-walks, pedestrian crossings, pedestrian bridges etc including those with wheel chairs and the visually impaired.

“Prescribes punitive measures where their rights are denied. under~listed are some of its provisions among other rights.” he said.

The bill which received overwhelming support from the senators was refereed to Senate Committee on Women Affairs.

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