The absence of social protection floors, including a regular distribution of pensions, contribute to the difficulty that older persons face in accessing social services, including appropriate healthcare, various care options, and adequate housing.
Meanwhile, a pending bill called ‘Older Persons (Rights and Privileges)’ would offer the most comprehensive legal framework ever available for older persons in the country, addressing among others, the social and economic challenges triggered by ageing.
During her visit, Ms. Mahler met with various government authorities at federal and state levels, civil society, stakeholders working on the rights of older persons and the elderly themselves.
Older people in vulnerable situations – especially those with disabilities, internally displaced, living below the poverty line and LGTB persons – should be prioritized by the Government when implementing legal and policy tools.
She will present a comprehensive report of her findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in September 2023.
Independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not paid for their work.
“I urge President [Muhammadu] Buhari to assent to the law, as part of his extended legacy to promote the rights of older persons,” she said.
She welcomed the Government’s progressive efforts in combatting poverty, security concerns, economic crisis, and gender-based inequalities faced by many older people, which she upheld “translates into the adoption of the National Senior Citizens Centre Act and the establishment of a dedicated Centre at Federal Government level to ensure that the human rights of older persons are mainstreamed in all programmes and activities”.
Ending a 12-day visit to the country, Claudia Mahler, the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights for older persons, said that as well as ageism and age-discrimination, even among Government officials, violence against older persons is an unspoken reality.