Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has urged the National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) to deliver on its mandate of enhancing the living standard of Senior Citizens.
Farouq gave the charge in her address of welcome at the Maiden edition of NSCC’s Dialogue on Monday in Abuja.
The theme of the Dialogue is “Leveraging Senior Citizen’s Partnership for Effective Service Delivery’’.
The minister said poverty, hunger and COVID-19 pandemic were threatening the globe, thus, responsible governments were fashioning policy and legal frameworks to ensure the inclusion of its vulnerable population.
She explained that in developing the National Policy on Ageing and establishing the NSCC, the President, Muhammadu Buhari led-government has ensured that systems and mechanisms to facilitate the quality of life, economic and social participation of older persons were guaranteed.
The minister stressed that challenges of older persons and the opportunities that accrued from meeting these challenges were integrated into Nigeria’s Development Plans.
“I am delighted to say that with the establishment of the NSCC, the concerns of older persons are no longer handled in discretionary and arbitrary manner.
“It will now be addressed comprehensively as detailed in the NSC Act and the National Policy on Ageing, which is soon to be operationalised 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.
“I encourage the senior citizens to let their voices be heard by their unreserved participation and also the NSCC to forge and leverage strong partnership with senior citizens to effectively deliver on its mandate,’’ Farouq said.
The Director-General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, appreciated Buhari and Farooq for their un-relented passion that culminated to the establishment of the NSCC.
Omokaro said with the framework and policy now in place, there was need to dialogue to identify their needs, adding that engaging with strategic partners was also a good way to start.
“We have eight areas of domain to ensure that we deliver on our mandate.
“They include, income security, health and wellbeing training, education of older persons, building senior citizens Centres and development programmes for enjoyment and wellbeing.
“Others are, provision of age friendly environment, data system, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and measuring outcomes,’’ Omokaro said.
Similarly, Mr Iorwa Apera, the National Coordinator of National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO) pledged its support to the Omokaro and the ministry in ensuring that the National Social Register (NSR) played its role in the mandate of NSCC.
“The NSR has the biodata of older persons across the 774 local governments in the country in terms of sex, numbers of disabilities, types of disability, employment status, income, their proximity to healthcare facilities, market, etc
“I am happy that in less than two months of establishment of NSCC, we have started implementing policy to carry out the mandate of the centre,’’ Apera said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the events attracted older women and traditional institutions, diplomats, other senior citizens from rural areas and retirees from across the country. (NAN)