Nigeria Reaffirms Commitment to Older Persons’ Human Rights by Ratifying African Charter Protocol: UN Expert


GENEVA, Switzerland, October 26, 2023 — Nigeria’s recent ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Rights of Older Persons is a significant step toward promoting equality in older age, according to a United Nations (UN) expert.

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On October 23, 2023, Nigerian President Ahmed Tinubu granted approval for the ratification, following the Protocol’s initial signing by the previous government in February 2020.

Claudia Mahler, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, stated, “As the 13th state in the African region to ratify the Protocol, Nigeria reaffirms its strong commitment to ensuring and safeguarding the human rights of older persons. This ratification sends a positive message to older persons in the country, assuring them that their rights are valued and a top priority.”

Mahler commended the dedicated efforts of key stakeholders, including the National Senior Citizens Centre, the National Human Rights Commission, civil society, and older persons, in advocating for this ratification. She emphasized that Nigeria should fully incorporate these regional standards into its legislation and policies to guide actions at both federal and state levels. Mahler also called for the allocation of appropriate resources to facilitate the implementation of the Protocol at the national level, referencing the pending bill on older persons’ rights and privileges.

The Protocol to the African Charter on Older Persons outlines guidelines to promote age-appropriate and transformative changes, ensuring a society that respects the rights of older persons. It establishes standards to combat age-based discrimination and ageism. To bring the Protocol into force, 15 ratifications are required, prompting the Independent Expert to urge other African states to follow Nigeria’s example.

Mahler expressed her anticipation of continued dialogue and engagement with the Nigerian government, particularly concerning the Protocol’s implementation, acknowledging Nigeria’s pivotal role at both regional and global levels.

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