NSCC, LAC partner on access to justice for senior citizens

The National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) is to partner with the Legal Aid Council (LAC) to ensure that senior citizens get unfettered access to justice across board, including removal of financial barriers and other obstacles affecting them, irrespective of earnings.

According to a statement made available to Blueprint in Abuja, Monday, signed by NSCC’s head of Public Affairs, Media and Communication, Omini Oden, notable among these hurdles are language barriers, financial constraints, distance, travel logistics, excessive delays and blacklog in judicial processes, gender bias, discrimination and entrenched ageism.

According to the statement, during a visit and interaction with the LAC in Abuja, Director General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, while applauding LAC’s presence in the six geo-political zones and all states of the federation, said the Centre will partner with the council to put in place a national technical working group that will develop an inter sector community mechanism that will address elder abuse through rapid response to the challenges of senior citizens.

She said: “When operational, the squad, which will be known as the ‘Anti-Elder Abuse Community Rapid Response Squad’, shall be comprised of community organizations and representatives of various interests, faith based organizations in the communities and security agency across the country.  

“The NSCC will take advantage of the LAC  Community Legal Service, which includes non-court advisory services, public awareness, mediation and other counselling services available in the act establishing the legal aid council. Under this partnership with LAC, we look forward to a Nigeria where the dignity of senior citizens will be respected and upheld at all times.

“It will be recalled that there has been increasing distressing reports of abuse and neglect of older persons within family settings and in communities and most of these abuses go unreported since older persons are voiceless and reporting mechanisms, structures and systems were not in place.”

On his part, Director General of LAC, Aliyu Bagudu Abubakar, said the move by the NSCC was reassuring and that LAC was available to work with centre to change the fortunes of senior citizens in Nigeria, even as he assured that the LAC is for social justice for older persons and other vulnerable groups in the society.