The Federal Government has disclosed intentions to address the welfare of senior citizens in the country, by creating a safety net programme that would ensure the quality of life.
This was shared by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, at the Senior Citizens’ Forum organised by the National Senior Citizens Center (NSCC).
She said that the programme dubbed the Older Person Safety-Net Program would cater to the “poor and vulnerable” senior citizens, which was proof of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s dedication to “age-inclusive development”.
Farouq said, “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 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 Program, which targets very poor and vulnerable older persons, attest to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to age-inclusive development.”
Expanding on the all-inclusive commitment of the administration, the Director-General of the NSCC, Emem Omokaro, said that the programme would admit senior citizens across the class divide.
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She said that the goal was to “see happy Senior Citizens” with the support of trained caretakers.
Omokaro said, “We set out a vision, regardless of the unique group you may belong, from the formal sector or informal sector, you are in the rural area, you are in the urban area, sub-urban centre; whether you are rich, whether you are poor, that vision is a vision that the NSCC has for every senior citizen and it took time to create this.
“We want to be able to see happy Senior Citizens, very happy enjoying their lives, respected, dignified and where your fruition capacity begins to decline and you need long term care, you get the quality care that you need and the person that has been trained to take care of you.”