An NGO, Save Our Heritage Initiative (SOHI), on Monday called for stiffer penalties on perpetrators of all forms of abuse and violence against older persons in the country.
Ms May Ikokwu, Chief Executive Officer of SOHI made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in commemoration of the UN International Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Abuja.
NAN reports that June 15, every year is set aside as UN International Elder Abuse Awareness Day to focus global attention on the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of elders.
It also seeks to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by an ageing population, and brings together senior citizens, and their caregivers, national and local government, academics, and the private sector to exchange ideas about how best to reduce incidents of violence towards elders, increase reporting of such abuse and to develop elder friendly policies.
She described as despicable the gross acts of atrocities being meted out to certain older persons labeled witches or wizards in the communities.
“It is despicable that even in these modern days, gross acts of atrocities are being meted out to certain people in communities labeled as witches or wizards.
“Their crime in many cases being their longevity and sometimes compounded with Alzheimer’s disease,’’ she said.
Ikokwu who is also the Secretary General, Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) decried lack of tolerance for older persons even as younger people desired to attain old age.
She called for more education on diseases of the aged population which would bring about needed public awareness aimed at reducing ridicule or abuse of the vulnerable people.
Ikokwu who expressed satisfaction with this year’s theme; “Access to Justice, legal, Social and Economic Services for Older Victims of Sexual, Physical and Financial Crimes,’’ called for an end to violence against older persons.
She reiterated the advocacy for the passage of Older Persons Rights and Privileges Bill for a constitutional protection of the older persons in Nigeria.
Ikokwu vehemently condemned the obnoxious cultures of cruelty and savagery against humanity especially the older persons in some Nigerian communities with frivolous allegations of witchcraft or wizardry. (NAN)