A new chapter is opening for senior citizens who have challenged Nigerians and the federal government on possible ways of dealing with the aged in the society.
Coming under the aegis of the national senior citizens centre, they believe the time has come for the government and Nigerians to accord them their rights in the areas of policy and operational legislations.
After a one day summit in Abuja, they said it was necessary to “amplify the voices of senior citizens in decisions that affect their lives as well as sensitize and empower senior citizens in Nigeria with information about National Senior Citizens Centre including the policy and legislation guiding its operations.
Also, they stressed they amplified the need to listen to senior citizens as well as facilitate their engagement with the National Senior Citizens Centre in collaboration with relevant MDAs, while also Identifying a feedback loop that will enrich the reality context of the National Senior Citizens Centre programmes and services.
A communiqué issued at the end of the summit and jointly endorsed by Yemisi Akhile, head of legal services and Mr. Omini Oden, head of public affairs, media and communication quoted the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, as saying that “the concerns of the older and senior citizens in Nigeria is longer handled with levity and in an arbitrary manner but now addressed comprehensively as made explicit in the National Senior Citizens Centre Act.”
The communiqué also quoted the Director General of the National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) Dr Emem Omokaro as saying that Nigerians needed to change thier perception about ageing, as the senior citizens in Nigeria were not witches or spent, and also bring the war against elder abuse to the front burner.
They resolved to work towards establishing a counselling and volunteering desk that will provide psycho-social support for senior citizens and give them a sense of relevance in the society.
They also said it was necessary to ensure that senior citizens enjoy discounted services in the area of transportation, at malls/shops and sundry services, issue personalized means of identification to senior citizens for ease of accessibility and enhanced livelihood and dignity.
The centre, according to them, will also “work towards ensuring that senior citizens are given priority in banks, hospitals and other service oriented locations, facilitate the process of ensuring that banks and other financial institutions grant senior citizens soft loans to grow existing businesses and start new ones rather than depend solely on monthly stipends or earnings and
facilitate mortgage for senior citizens for suitable shelter.”