Old persons suffering from dementia are not witches — Coalition

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The labelling of old persons suffering from dementia as witches or wizards or setting them ablaze is total violation of right to life, Sen. Eze Ajoku, said in Abuja on Thursday.

“Rights equality is paramount to guaranteeing senior citizens’ social and medical security,’’ Ajoku, President, and Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria, told the Newsmen

He spoke in an interview to commemorate this year’s Human Rights Day.

Human Rights Day is observed yearly on Dec. 10, the day in 1948 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Ajoku said that only a society with entrenched equal human rights could harness the desired economic and political stability needed for development.

He said: “God created us all equal with equal rights whether old or young, rich or poor, female or male, therefore, we must respect the rights of all because injury to one is injury to all.’’

Ajoku, who bemoaned all forms of social inequality or discrimination against vulnerable people, especially old persons, said discriminatory acts as ageism were violations of rights perpetrated daily by many against old persons.

He appealed to governments at all levels and the UN to rise to the occasion by upholding the rights of all and protecting the vulnerable, especially old persons.

According to him, old persons’ rights to association, existence, speech, movement in most cases are violated.

“Most times, you will see where young person’s restrict old persons from moving freely or expressing opinions.

“Denial of pensions, denial of proper health care for old adults, denial of social and economic protection to the vulnerable in the society, especially old persons are rights denials that the various governments must address.

“Discriminatory treatments meted out in rural areas of Nigeria against widows and old persons without families should stop,’’ he charged.

Ajoku decried the polarisation of the society occasioned by reckless infringement on perceived weaker persons’ rights, especially the disabled and old persons.

He called for love and care for a united, progressive society where justice would prevail over injustice.