International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has urged government at all levels to provide free Medicare to older citizens, saying they deserved better treatment for contributing to Nigeria’s growth.
The FIDA Financial Secretary in Abuja, Francisca Akaniro, made the call when she led a delegation of women lawyers to Amazing Grace Home for the Old in Abuja.
She said the visit was part of the group’s activities to mark International Day of Older Persons (IDOP) which has “The Journey to Age Equality” as its theme for 2019.
The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 45/106 on Dec. 14, 1990 to declare Oct. 1 as IDOP and was observed for the first time on Oct. 1, 1991.
Akaniro said it was necessary to recognise older persons in the country, urging all to reflect on best practices, lessons and progress on the journey to ending older age inequalities and changing negative narratives and stereotypes involving old age.
She added that Abuja chapter of FIDA recognised the importance of the day and decided to join the world to commemorate it.
“We decided to celebrate the day with older persons of the Amazing Grace Home located at Kado Estate in Abuja and spend time with them, share with them and show them love and affection because we care for them,” she said.
Earlier, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of FIDA Abuja, Mrs Mojirayo Ogunlana-Nkanga, stressed the need for government and all citizens to assist older people.
She added that an offshoot of the female lawyers’ objective is to cater for women and children, saying “we are here today because in our by-laws and constitution, some of the days celebrated by UN is relevant to our core objective.
“People just have this mindset that when you are old, they relegate them to the back like they don’t matter anymore, but with events like this, it shows that they still matter and still part of the society and because you are old does not mean you have lost function.
“The international day for older persons is coinciding with Nigeria’s independence day, which is more the merrier so as we celebrate the old, we also remember that Nigeria is 59.
“FIDA stands for the vulnerable, especially women and children and so it is proper that we should also celebrate the older women.”
Ogunlana-Nkanga, therefore, urged government to evolve policies and programmes that would take care of senior citizens in the country, saying “there are no older peoples’ homes like we see in advanced countries.
“Government needs to do more, citizens also need to take care of the elderly by making sure we provide for them.
“It is the responsibility of government to provide them free medical services because they are old and they have paid their dues.”
The President of the International Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Ministries, Dr King Kinang, said that President Muhammadu Buhari attended some conferences around the world that borders on global ageing, saying “this shows government commitment to the plight of older persons.”
He called for more result-oriented policies and programmes to tackle the challenges faced by older people in the country.
The Founder of Amazing Grace Home, Mrs Ifeanyinwa Obegolu, said that the home was established in 2004 to cater for the needs of older persons such as medical care, nursing services, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, amongst others.