Minister Farouq restates Buhari's commitment to dignity of senior citizens


Hajiya Sadiya Faruk: Former Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development

Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has restated the commitment of the Ministry to ensure the dignity of Older Persons in the country.

Farouq stated this during a broadcast at an event to celebrate the maiden edition of the National Day of Older Persons 2022 in Abuja.

The event with the theme, ‘Celebrating the Resilience of Older Women and Men: From Resilience to Empowerment was organised by the National Senior Citizens Centre(NSCC).

She said the day was instituted by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2021 during the first Presidential summit on ageing in Nigeria.

“The National Day of Older Persons in Nigeria is set aside fundamentally to highlight invaluable contributions that older people have made to society as well as raise awareness of their needs, challenges and opportunities.

“In line with the universal decade of action which strongly suggests leaving no one behind, the Federal Government has implemented and kept faith with the spirit of social inclusion.

“This is reflected in the inauguration of the National Policy on Ageing, Development of a ten-year Strategic Roadmap and National plan of Action on Ageing that will enable sustainable sector wide inclusion and partnerships.

“The Ministry is determined to usher in an era of dignity, security, health, wellbeing and improved quality of life for senior citizens.

“These provide an opportunity to generate renewed momentum for international action to advance the ageing agenda,” Farouq said.

In her address of welcome, the Director-General, NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, appreciated Buhari and Farouq for making the celebration of the day for older persons a reality.

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“This celebration also signifies that older people are included in Nigeria’s development plan and the significance of their expertise and experiences can no longer be ignored.

“In celebrating the resilience of older persons, we are also celebrating the family, the Civil Society Organisations, Nigeria, the current administration, development partners, MDAs, etc that put efforts to ensure that the older people have a voice.

“The older person’s resilience cannot be over-emphasised; they can withstand the challenges of life. They have been mainstreamed into the Social Safety Net, National Social Investment Programmes and capacity building.

“Now if anything happens, they can bounce back. We thank our traditional rulers and other stakeholders,” Omokaro said.

Also speaking, the Chairman of NSCC’s governing board, retired AVM Muhammadu Muhammed, said as the population grows older, there is a need to have a policy to make them remain active to participate in economic activities.

“To make life beautiful for Senior Citizens, let us continue to celebrate them all the time.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, National Human Rights Commission, National Directorate of Employment, NAPTIP and other stakeholders restated efforts to continue to support NSCC to deliver on its mandate.

High points of the celebration include a short documentary on NSCC Grey and Vintage Project, spoken words poetry in honour of Senior Citizens by Richard Onyegbule, medical outreach and the tour of the Grey and Vintage Fair.

The event brought together officials from the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, the National Social Investment Programme, the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, and Senior citizens.

The celebration of the National Day for Older Persons started on Sept. 28 with a news conference, Day Out with Older Persons with visitations to care homes on Tuesday, Slow Carnival and Road Walk on Wednesday and Grey and Vintage fair on Friday.

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