Advocacy and Courtesy Visit to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
The Management of the Dave Omokaro Foundation led by the Executive Director, Dr Emem Omokaro paid an advocacy and courtesy visit to the Acting Executive Secretary and Management of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday, June 13th, 2017, preparatory to the observance of the 2017 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The objective of the visit was to firstly highlight the increasing incidences of elder abuse especially older women most of whom are widows; and secondly, to seek partnership in changing the negative perception of older persons and mainstreaming their rights into broader human rights concerns in Nigeria.
Dr Omokaro also discussed the ongoing dialogue at the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing and the inclusion of National Human Rights Commission in UN deliberations towards achieving a UN Convention on the rights of older persons. She promoted the Africa Union Protocol to the Charter on the Human and Peoples Rights and the Rights of Older Persons which must be ratified by at least 15 member states to enable its adoption. DOF requested for the help of the Commission to ensure the interest and ratification by the Nigerian Government.
A consensus was reached between NHRC and DOF for the establishment of an open working group to pursue sustainable frameworks for the promotion and strengthening of older persons rights in Nigeria including the development of age-specific policies.
The NHRC also expressed interest in partnering with DOF to launch and promote the Documentary on Ageing in Nigeria, “In the Shadows”, as an evidence for action.
Follow-up Visit on Pending Legislations on Ageing at the National Assembly
DOF also undertook a follow-up visit to the National Assembly on pending legislations that concerns Ageing. The DOF Management met with Honourable Linus Okorie, Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions, to discuss the status of the House Bill for an Act to establish a National Council for the Elderly in Nigeria and the consolidated Bill for an Act to establish the National Welfare Commission for the Vulnerable, including children, widows and older persons.
Honourable Linus Okorie was the House of Representative Member that moved the motion in 2016 for the House to collaborate with DOF in the celebration of the International Day of Older Persons.
He assured our team that both bills have passed second readings and currently with the Committee awaiting public hearing. DOF expressed interest to build capacity of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and older persons towards effective engagement at the public hearing.
Youth Dialogue Forum on Elder Abuse at Titsall Global Schools
On the following day, the 14th of June 2017, DOF held a Youth Dialogue Forum on Elder Abuse with the students of Titsall Global Schools, Wuse 2, Abuja. The aim of this dialogue was to build intergenerational synergies with the youths on ways to eliminate all forms of abuse and violence against older people. The forum showed that there is a great awareness among the youths about elder abuse and the negative stereotypes about the elderly. The amazing outing ended with the students’ individual and collective pledges to be Age Friendly and to advocate within family, among friends and on the social media.
Annual Conference on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by the National Orientation Agency (NOA)
On the 15th of June 2017, Dr Emem Omokaro, the Executive Director, DOF, presented a Keynote Address on the Strategies for achieving effective Advocacy for older persons’ rights to Equality, Non-discrimination and freedom from Neglect, Violence and Elder Abuse in Nigeria at the Annual Conference on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA). In her keynote address, Dr Omokaro shared the pitiable stories of some of the old women interviewed for the DOF documentary and stressed the need for a deliberate inclusion of their concerns in national developmental policies. Prior to the conference, the Management of DOF paid a courtesy visit to the Director General of NOA to discuss collaborations between both organizations to promote positive image of older persons and their rights.
Finally, as part of its media advocacy strategy, the Executive Director of DOF, Dr Omokaro, was hosted on the Wazobia Max TV and Nigeria Info FM to discuss Ageing and Inclusive Development. She talked about the factors that predispose older persons to all types of abuse, sought for the commitment of the federal government to develop policies that protect their rights and improve their wellbeing.