By Collins Yakubu-Hammer

Dr. Claudia Mahler, the UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons has called for effective collaboration among stakeholders to better the lives of older persons in Nigeria.

Mahler made the call at a meeting with Ministries, Department and Agencies’ Focal Aging Desk Officers on Tuesday in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by the Nigeria Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC).

Mahler said she was in Nigeria to assess what had happened in the time past, the obstacles and the issues concerning older persons that deserves her attention.

“So that I can also lobby for more supports in your different ministries, because, sometimes, this is what recommendations can do.

“The essence is to ensure a dignify life in later aging. As we all know, that might be our future. So we should work together to improve the situation for older generation today and tomorrow.

“Let us work together to improve their situation and also tackle issues like structural aging in the system, age discrimination and also find out where we can raise more awareness of older persons in the different sector.

“My reports is due in September, but we will like to get additional information in writing, to get all the numbers, different policies, etc which can help implement human rights for older persons better and make it a reality.

“This is because, I think older persons deserve to be a priority in all fields of human endeavours,” Mahler said.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, said Mahler was in Nigeria to assess the efforts of the country in strengthening the protection of the right of older persons.

Omokaro explains that in the process, Mahler is going to find out that there are some innovative and beautiful things Nigeria is doing that is worth announcing to the international community.

“Also, she is going to find out the things we should do, because, nobody can be perfect.

“In the course of her visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked with us in cluster meetings of areas that are of interest to Mahler.

“We have been to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Budget and National Planning, where the Director-General of National Population Commission and Statistician General of the Federation were all in attendance.

“We have had meetings at the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the nine agencies under the ministry; all the discussions related to older persons.

“We were at PTAD and officials from the National Income, Salaries and Wages Commission to discuss pension for older person were in attendance, and here we are with the Focal Persons on Aging,” Omokaro said. the NSCC Director-General, her Centre is into effective collaborations and partnership with a lot of government ministries, departments and agencies, all for the benefit of older persons in Nigeria.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports, the focal persons on aging narrated the mandates of their MDAs and how they go about handling issues that concern older persons.

NAN also reports that Omokaro, Mahler and her team later had a virtual meeting with officials from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right Multi-Stakeholder and another virtual meeting with National Stakeholders Consultative Forum of the NSCC. (NAN)

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