Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq has urged older persons to make participation in the maiden National Senior Citizens dialogue.
In an address during the maiden dialogue with Senior Citizens Forum yesterday in Abuja, the minister said the federal government has developed a National Policy on Ageing and also established the National Senior Citizens Centre to meet the challenges of older persons in the country.
Farouq stated that hunger, poverty, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitated the government’s decision to tailor efforts in including the vulnerable population.
“In developing the National Policy on Ageing and establishing the National Senior Citizens Center, President 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 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 operationalized by NSCC. The now instituted Older Persons Safety-net Programme which targets very poor and vulnerable older persons, attest to the commitment of President Buhari’s administration to age-inclusive development.”
Earlier, the Director-General, National Senior Citizens Centre, Dr Emem Omokaro lauded senior citizens for their resilience in the face of hardship, suffering, neglect and abuse over the years. She also thanked the minister for her passionate efforts.
“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 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 urban and rural areas, military and paramilitary agencies, as well as the public and private sectors attended the dialogue which seeks to address the major problems facing the elderly.
The Senior Citizens Centre and 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 and social protection safety nets.
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