By Naomi Sharang
GreenLight Initiative, a non-profit organisation, on Wednesday, called on government at all levels to create policies that would aid the transportation needs of the elderly in the country.
The Executive Director of the group, Mr Simon Obi made the call in Abuja, at the presentation of Research Findings carried out on “Mobility, Transport, and Ageing in Low and Middle-Income Countries”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the research was conducted in Nigeria and Uganda and aimed at meeting the mobility needs of the elderly in selected cities.
NAN also reports that the event was organised by GreenLight Initiative in collaboration with Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo and Makerere University, Uganda.
Volvo Research and Educational Foundation (VREF) supported the project.
In his address, Obi urged the governments to understand that there was need to start planning and incorporating decisions that would benefit and protect the lives of older persons on the roads.
Obi said the study became imminent as available evidence suggests that not much work had been done regarding the mobility needs and safety of older persons.
He said that: “Lack of policies and lack of infrastructure are definitely affecting the older persons in Nigeria and we don’t have structures and infrastructure that supports their wellbeing in our cities.
“The government has to come in and do something urgently because this is an emergency situation. We are losing our older persons and we all will get old one day.
“This should compel urban developers and transport planners to put key and special consideration during designs.
“Inclusive mobility is an important initiative to directly consider in the initial stages of designing and developing mobility services.
“Our road designs, what we saw in these two countries indicated they do not support the right of the older persons.’
“So governments need to invest in infrastructure, they also need to provide the enabling environment for these category of persons to thrive to make a meaningful life.”
Also speaking, Dr Chinebuli Uzondu, a researcher/lecturer from the university said that the research had explored the mobility needs of older persons in Nigeria and Uganda.
“The study made us to understand their travel patterns, unravelled their travel patterns, transport options available to them, needs and barriers to active mobility.”
She, however, said that the research would address the issues around transport inequities and exclusions.
Similarly, Dr Paul Mukwaya, a senior lecturer Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda, said that the research had brought to the fore, the kind of transport inequalities that older persons experienced.
“It has also brought to the fore, transport policy gaps that exist at city and/or national scale.”(NAN)
Edited by Sadiya Hamza