Assistant Professor of Law, Dr. Jennifer Heaven Mike won the “Best Paper Presenter” at the International Conference on Research in Social Sciences held in the UK from April 7-9.
Her presentation, “A Human Rights-Based Framework for the Protection of Older Persons in Nigeria,” is a product of her research which examined the human rights-related problems and challenges of older persons in Nigeria.
Dr. Mike argued that the human rights of older people are yet to receive adequate attention despite that society still has a significant proportion of older people.
“If the current trend of lowering birth rates and lowering death rates continues, by 2050, one out of five people will be aged 60 years or older and by 2150, one out of every two people will be aged 60 years or older.”
The professor maintained that the Nigerian government is yet to develop suitable policies, laws, and socioeconomic and welfare programs that will effectively cater to the human rights interests of the elderly.
“Many older people suffer human rights violations ranging from discrimination, social and political exclusion, poverty, neglect and undignifying abuse in homes and nursing facilities. Many poor people in Nigeria live in deplorable accommodation especially in the rural areas or urban ghettos and slums.”
She went on to recommend a human rights-based framework that will protect the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of older persons in Nigeria.
The framework includes recommending the enactment of the Discrimination Against Older Persons (Prohibition) Act.
“The Act should include payment of elderly people allowances monthly, provision of free medical services, accommodation, food, and recreational facilities.”
Also among the five items on the framework is that the law and government should also establish a National Commission for Older Persons responsible for ensuring that the basic human rights older people are protected, fulfilled and respected.
“The Commission should be empowered to receive complaints of rights violations and support victims to seek legal redress amongst other duties.”
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa