From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has suggested an expansion of data analysis on senior citizens in the country.
Umar Farouq stated this during the commemoration of the one year anniversary of the National Senior Citizens Centre recently in Abuja.
The minister stated that the need for data gathering on the ageing population would help government provide their needs and reduce vulnerabilities.
“As the proportion of the older people continues to increase in Nigeria, I urge you to expand your activities by engaging the State Governments for further collaboration.
“There is the need for expanded and improved information and analysis of ageing population to assist policymakers to define, formulate goals and programmes, raise public awareness and support for required policy changes.
“We are happy to celebrate the first year anniversary of the take-off of the National Citizen centre.
“We cannot continue to neglect our older persons in view of their experience, knowledge and skills in our communities.
“The older persons have been long neglected in our communities and the time for urgent action and intervention is now,” she said.
She pledged that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will continue to support the NSCC, to change the narrative on ageing and enhance coordination and cooperation with States, international and national NGOs, the private sector, academia and other relevant stakeholders, to develop sustainable partnerships and promote dignified ageing.
She said: “One of the objectives of the National Policy on Ageing in Nigeria is to cause a fundamental positive change in perception, attitude and paradigm about ageing, old age and an inclusive society.
“We look forward to achieving this before the second anniversary of the establishment of the Center.
“The Score card of NSCC in the last one year has shown the determination of the Federal Government and Mr. President’s support for the setting up of a new agenda of active and healthy ageing persons that can reduce the vulnerabilities and enhance the rights, capabilities and resilience of older persons in Nigeria.
“However, if we are not going to leave the older persons behind, we must all work together in the implementation of the policies and strategies on ageing as we all look forward to enhancing the dignity, capacities, security and wellbeing of older persons.”
Earlier, NSCC’s Director General, Dr Emem Omokaro expressed appreciation to the Minister for her Policy guidance, support and encouragement.
Dr Omokaro stated that Nigerian Senior Citizens have now justifiably taken ownership of the National Senior Citizens Centre and its programmes.
“The first 365 days have reported excellent partnerships between the Nigerian Union of Pensioners and the Association of Older Persons across the country with the National Senior Citizens Centre.
“NSCC’s vision and the clarity consistency of its communications were made possible by the development of its ten-year Strategy Roadmap.
“And now, we also have the National Action Plan on Ageing and Project Activity Implementation Plan.
“This, we got by identifying eight main priority areas of intervention and sustainable implementation capacity.
“We will continue to empower rural older persons to continue to live independently and earn income leveraging on the interest, expertise, experience and engagements.
“The NSCC initiated the Spark-Age-Senior-Led Indigenous Craft Project and the Grandmother Arise for Good, to empower older persons thereby enhancing their capacity to earn more from their indigenous craft ventures and economic tree planting, in partnership with the private sector granting soft loans to build their capacity and enhance productivity,” she said.