Older Persons in Nigeria have been urged to make inputs in dialogues that has to do with them for effective policy formulation.
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Farouq said this in Abuja in the maiden dialogue with National Senior Citizens.
She said that ”the National Policy on Ageing and the establishment of the National Senior Citizens Centre was to meet the challenges of older persons in the country.”
According to her, hunger, poverty as well as the Covid-19 pandemic necessitated government’s decision to tailor efforts at including the vulnerable population.
The Minister said; “In developing the National Policy on Ageing and establishing the National Senior Citizens Center, the government of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, has ensured, that the very essential institutions, systems and mechanisms to facilitate the quality of life, economic and social participation of older persons are guaranteed and that the challenges of older persons and the opportunities that accrue from meeting these challenges are integrated into Nigeria’s development plans.”
“I am delighted to say that with the establishment of the National Senior Citizens Center, the concerns of older persons are no longer handled in a discretionary and arbitrary manner but are now addressed comprehensively, as detailed in the National Senior Citizens Act and the National Policy on Ageing, which is soon to be operationalised by NSCC. The now instituted Older Persons Safety-net Programme which targets very poor and vulnerable older persons, attest to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to age- inclusive development” Farouq explained.
The Director General of the National Senior Citizens Centre, Dr Emem Omokaro applauded the Senior Citizens for their resilience in the face of hardship, suffering, neglect and abuse over the years.
Omokaro said; “Today, we have the National Policy on Ageing and the Senior Citizens Centre. The next thing is that we need to talk. This dialogue is important so that senior citizens will know their rights and what is being handed to them by the law. There is no way we can identify the needs of senior citizens and cater to those needs as directed by the act without forging an engagement mechanism.”
Senior Citizens representing various categories including the urban and rural, the military and paramilitary as well as the public and private sectors attended the dialogue which seeks to find out the major problems facing the elderly as enumerated by them.
The Senior Citizens Centre and the National Policy on Ageing were established to take care of the social welfare of older persons including leisure, health care, pension, rehabilitation, income security, supplementary income, skills development among others social protection safety nets.