Hajiay Sadiya Umar Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has distributed not fewer that 200 5kg bags of rice, 200 pieces of wrapper, 500 sachet tomatoes and 500 pieces of washing soaps to older persons.
Farouq in her key note address on Tuesday in Abuja said the distribution was to mark the 2020 International Day of Older Persons.
According to her this is to continue the Ministry’s good work of taking good care of older persons in the country.
Farouq said this year’s event was expected to hold on Oct. 1, 2020 with the theme: “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”.
“However, due to coincidence with the Independence Day Celebration, the event has to be modified to this day to ensure the full participation of our senior citizens.
“The International Day of Older Persons is a day to stand against ageism and to promote the development of a society that is hospitable to people of all ages.
“At this junction, let me join the world and other International Community in commemorating the International Day of Older Persons.
“The elderly are the world’s fastest growing population group, with those 60 years or older constituting one person in every ten, a figure that is expected to rise to one person in five by middle of the century,” Farouq said.
Farouq was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary in charge of the Ministry, Alhaji Bashir Nura Alkali.
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanire said the Federal Ministry of Health is doing it best to ensure that the health of older persons in the country is improved according to UN specifications.
“The Federal Government through the Ministry of Health is committed to establishing Regional Centres for Older Persons to take care of their well being”.
Ehanire was represented by Dr Saidu Ahmed, National Coordinator in charge of Healthcare for Older Persons in the Ministry.
Also speaking, Mrs Hauwa Umar Jibril, Founder, ‘Pause Old People’s Home Abuja’ congratulated the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs for achieving a lot within a short period, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the pandemic, the Ministry distributed palliatives for people including the older persons. We stakeholders have also been contributing to the well being of senior citizens.
“It is regrettable to note that older persons in Nigeria are suffering from stigmatisation and neglect. Some of them are called witches and wizards.
“However, I call on Government at all levels to subsidise their drugs, health care and transportation. They should be provided with ambulances, wheel chairs, house rent, etc to make life easy for them.
“Lets continue to celebrate our older ones and make them happy,” Jibril stressed.
Dignitaries at the event include officials from Conditional Cash Transfer Office, National Centre for Women Development, Federal Road Safety Corps and many others.
High points of the event was a match parade by Older Persons, dance performance by Magic Steppers and a raffle draw where older persons went home with Water Dispensers, Table refrigerator, microwave, electric kettle and some consolation prizes.