“I felt that at the end of the day, I have been used and dumped”
His name is Chief Chibueze Akpu. He lives in a village in Kaduna State, Nigeria where he has worked all his life. He was an apprentice trader until the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war. In 2011, his business was burned down during sectarian violence. He was lucky to have escaped with his life.
“The loss of my livelihood was a devastating experience for me because I was no longer able to financially support my young children. During that crisis, I saw no provision made for the care of older people and those with disabilities. Some did not survive the trauma of those days.
Eight years later, I’m yet to recover from the violence of 2011. I have no personal insurance for my healthcare and my petty trading has not been able to support me and my family. The support of my family and friends have been invaluable, but the Government seems distant to me and those like me. I don’t think they care or even know about my existence.
It was as if we older persons are a nuisance, a burden. In 2018, I was involved in a road traffic accident and had to be rushed to the teaching hospital which was about three hours’ drive away. There, I saw there was no provisions for older people. No consideration was given for my age and it was obvious that the health personnel had no specific training on the care of older people. I felt that at the end of the day, the Government is not for me, I have been used and dumped.
It’s time we end this ageism that older people face. On 1 October (International Day of Older Persons) I will lead a delegation from the Jama’a Older Persons Association to meet with the Chief Medical Director of the regional hospital to demand better geriatric care. We will march through the town with our banner to show that we reject ageism. Our voices must be heard.”
Chief Chibueze Akpu, Nigeria
With thanks to Fantusam Foudation, a member of the HelpAge International network. HelpAge and its network members are campaigning to #ExposeAgeism. Follow the conversation here!