All things being equal, senior citizens in Nigeria will begin to enjoy unfettered access to justice, courtesy of the legal aid council. Discussions to this effect have already begun.
A statement from the National Senior Citizens Centre and endorsed by its spokesman, Mr Omini Oden quoted the Director General of the Legal Aid Council, Aliyu Bagudu Abubakar as saying that the move by the NSCC was reassuring and that the legal aid council was available to work with the Centre to change the fortunes of senior citizens in the country.
The council, he said, was for social justice for older persons and other vulnerable groups in the society. Highpoint of this deal includes the removal of financial barriers and other obstacles irrespective of earnings, when senior citizens have cases to prosecute.
Director General of the Centre, Dr Emem Omokaro expressed the hope that a new chapter had opened for senior citizens. Omokaro said she was looking forward to a Nigeria where the dignity of senior citizens will be respected and upheld at all times.
The legal aid council’s community legal service which includes non-court advisory services, public awareness, mediation and other counselling services would also be explored and enjoyed by the senior citizens, as part of the deal.
A body to be known as the Anti-Elder Abuse Community Rapid Response Squad” which shall comprise community organizations and representatives of various interests, faith based organizations in the communities and security agency across the country is also being contemplated by the duo, according to the statement.
There have 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.