Echoes from UN Independent Expert on  Enjoyment of all Human Rights of Older Persons visit to Nigeria

Oru Leonard

One of the impressions by the United Nations Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all Human Rights of Older Persons, Dr. Claudia Mahler had and commended is the National Senior Citizens Centre extensive National Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Ageing.

The UN Independent Expert described the platform as a very good model of stakeholder engagement with State and local governments and a vehicle for high level advocacy involving Royal Fathers, Traditional Institutions, Faith Based Organizations, Pensioners Union, Association of Older Persons, Private Sector, Civil Society Organizations, Experts in Ageing, Research and Academia, which are all represented in the consultative forum as members.

The consultative forum established and functioning already in 34 States and the FCT boast of inclusivity and opportunities for Older Persons active participation in NSCC programs and activities regardless of location, gender, socio-economic status and disability status.

The UN Independent Expert on Ageing was particularly happy to see that Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria were recognized by the National Senior Citizens Centre and included as a Stakeholder category.

Dr. Mahler met with NSCC National Stakeholders Consultative Forum in Oyo, Benue and Lagos States and was also able to meet and interact with all Co-Chairs from 34 States virtually on the Stakeholders Consultative Forum’s governance structure, the partnerships with States and local governments and processes of domesticating the National Senior Citizens Centre Act and National Policy on Ageing and the progress so far made.

The National Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Ageing is an NSCC-led multi-stakeholders network working to improve the lives of older persons, their families and communities across Nigeria. It is not an independent or separate legal entity and derives its legal status from the National Senior Citizens Centre.

This collaborative network is housed in the National Senior Citizens Centre as an Engagement Mechanism and Purpose Vehicle for Advocacy and programs alignment and Execution in partnership with States,

The operations of the national representing All States and FCT, shall in all respects be administered in accordance with the development model and rights-based thematic activities in the NSCC act (to be domesticated in all States for sustainable and equitable inclusion of Senior Citizens in Development Agendas and budgets)

The National Stakeholder Consultative Forum was inaugurated on July 29 2022, by President Muhammadu Buhari through the Hon. Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq.
It would be progressive, if stakeholders indicated in their inputs to their respective State Assemblies, the need to incorporate in the State Senior Citizens Centre Act, the establishment of the State Stakeholders Consultative Forum.

The NSCC Act is very aware of the Federal Structure and the intersecting nature of challenges of older persons, which could mean that, there are program aspects that are strictly State jurisdiction and there are aspects that are concurrent. The approach therefore is persuasion and partnership with States as the Act indicates to align Federal services and programs with States.

NSCC Act 2017, mandates NSCC to promote and maintain linkages with States.  It is the priority of NSCC to determine the best and conflict free approach to progressively build these partnerships through Stakeholders Engagement Mechanisms. There is in the ACT, the blessed provision of an omnibus clause that extensively allows NSCC to do whatever it deems ‘appropriate, incidental and necessary to fulfill its mandate

They are in themselves opportunities, and advisory to States, who wish to evolve from Welfare Approach to issues, of older persons, to all-inclusive and equitable development model.

In setting up and engaging Stakeholders Consultative Forums across the States to plan and implement programs, NSCC through the omnibus clause is already gradually evolving Technical Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks that may allow funding consideration of Stakeholders’ technical and logistics inputs.

So the National Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Ageing remains, an NSCC Engagement Mechanism.


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