By Blessing Bature-akpakpan, Abuja
The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, has charged the national senior citizens center to ensure inclusion of Its vulnerable population in the country.
Farouq said that the welfare of senior citizens remains a priority to the present administration, asking senior citizens to let their voices be heard through unreserved participation in issues affecting their welfare.
Speaking Monday in Abuja during the Senior Citizens’ Forum maiden dialogue organised by the National Senior Citizens Center, she said that gone are the days when senior citizens were neglected as challenges of older persons and opportunities that accrue from meeting these challenges are integrated into Nigeria’s development plans.
She stated: “In contemporary times, poverty, hunger and COVID-19 pandemic are threatening and, when global efforts are tailored towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals with the mantra of ‘leave no one behind’, responsible governments are fashioning policy and legal frameworks to ensure the inclusion of its vulnerable population.
“In developing the National Policy on Ageing and establishing the National Senior Citizens Center, the government of His Excellency 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 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 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 Program, which targets very poor and vulnerable older persons, attest to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to age-inclusive development.
“In conclusion, I encourage the senior citizens to let your voices be heard by your unreserved participation in keeping with the theme and objectives of today’s Senior Citizens’ Forum Maiden Dialogue which are indicative that the NSCC intends to forge and leverage strong partnership with senior citizens to effectively deliver on its mandate.”
Also speaking, the DG of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, said that the Centre is working with MDAs to ensure that the welfare of senior citizens are prioritised.
“As we dialogue, I want us to have in mind that the categories of senior citizens gathered here are diverse. They were selected from urban and rural areas, whether rich or poor, because catering for the welfare of senior citizens is no longer discretional, but now backed up by laws,” she said.