A bill for an Act to eradicate age discrimination against job seekers in Federal Government agencies and other related matters passed its second reading in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The bill, which was sponsored by Rep. Sergius Ogun (PDP-Edo), seeks to stop the disqualification of qualified job seekers in Federal Government agencies on the account of age.
Leading the debate, Ogun said that the consideration of the bill would ensure that no Nigerian job seeker was denied employment on the account of age.
He said that the bill would also demonstrate the commitment of the House of Representatives to making laws for the good of the citizens.
Ogun said that over the years, the lack of legislation had led to the restrictions placed on employment age by multinational, private sector and even government agencies.
“The rationale for this bill is to ensure that no artificial barrier is allowed to preponderate over merit, which rarely has anything to do with age,” he said.
The lawmaker, however, said that certain jobs in field of sports or the military required youthfulness and agility, adding that judging by international best practices, age limitation in that case did not amount to discrimination.
Ogun said that those who were denied employment because of factors such as age often became depressed and could later develop various types of life-threatening diseases.
In his contributions, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Rep. Yussuf Lassun (APC-Osun), said that the 1999 Constitution had already provided legislation which outlawed any form of discrimination.
He, however, said that a standard should be set, while such sections of the Constitution should be tested in court by anyone who experienced discrimination.
Lassun stressed that the bill, if passed into law, would be replication of the section of the Constitution which stated that no Nigerian should suffer any form of discrimination.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, forwarded the bill to the House Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity for further legislative action.