Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian, Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development says the National Policy on Ageing is ready for approval by the Federal Executive Council.
Farouq made this known in her opening remark at a symposium to commemorate the 2020 International Day of the Older Persons on Thursday in Abuja.
She said the symposium was an annual celebration of senior citizens around the world and a chance to take stock of the opportunities and challenges related to population ageing.
“The Ministry serves as the national vehicle to bring about speedy humanitarian policies and provide effective coordination of National and International humanitarian interventions: ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response.
“The Ministry also manage the formulation and implementation of fair focused social inclusion, policies and protection programs in Nigeria.
“In realisation of this fact, the Ministry initiated various programs and activities towards ensuring healthy ageing and overall wellbeing of the elderly.
“It will also interest you to note that the National Policy on Ageing has been finalised and awaiting the Federal Executive Council’s approval.
“When approved, it will go a long way to address challenges faced by senior citizens today,” Farouq said.
According to her, not fewer than 17,000 people aged over 60 years have lost their lives to COVID-19 Pandemic in the African Region, adding that the figure account for 50 per cent of COVID-19 deaths in the region.
She emphasised that it was time to recognise the significant contributions that older persons made to our families, communities and societies.
“Throughout their lives, they have given their time and energy to helping others and they continue to do so.
“In return, we should do more to support their human rights and freedoms, including their right to live in dignity and security, free from want and fear,” Farouq said.
Farouq was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Alhaji Bashir Alkali.
Also speaking, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu urged government and business owners to work towards ensuring free transportation, medication, legal services for elderly people and timely payment of pensions.
According to the VON boss such will make them to be happy and also encourage the younger generation.
“Free transportation and medication is necessary and important for the aged. If the aged are happy, the young ones will be happier.
“Let us help the aged so that the young will not resort to self help. If the aged are not paid their pensions, the young will seek avenues to loot public treasury to take care of their old age,” Okechukwu said.