FG Declares October 5 National Day For Senior Citizens

FG Declares October 5 National Day For Senior Citizens

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As Umar Farouq seeks take-off grant for National Senior Citizens’ Centre.

The Federal Government has declared October 5 as the National Day for Senior Citizens in Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari made the declaration at the First Presidential Summit on Ageing and Awards ceremony held at the Yaradua Centre Abuja on Friday.

In his keynote address, the President who was represented by the Minister of Interior Affairs Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola stated that 4.7% of Nigeria's population which comes to over 9m Senior Citizens, have contributed their best to the development of the country.

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He however observed that the elderly have not been treated fairly and with dignity.

Senior Citizens are the most neglected and abused in the society and have been left to die in silence.

In bringing about a paradigm shift, |, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law, the National Senior Citizen’s Centre Act 2017 to cater for the needs of senior citizens.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to effectively mobilizing capital resources needed to develop the appropriate mechanism that will be geared towards promoting and providing unhindered access to social services.

“As a further demonstration of our support for senior citizens, the 5th of October every year will be celebrated as National Day for Senior Citizens in Nigeria’.

Earlier, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq recalled that this is the first ever Summit on Ageing in recognition of the Senior Citizens in Nigeria.

She thanked the President for signing the Disability Acts 2018 and the National Senior Citizens Centre Acts 2017 and appealed for take off funds for the Centre.

“We have a load of requests to enhance the work on ageing including the release of the take-off grant to the National Senior Citizens’ Centre.

As we have this summit today, we want to place it on record that President Muhammed Buhari has demonstrated political goodwill and commitment to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of senior citizens beyond any other administration in Nigeria's history.

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We will therefore not let you down Mr. President, in ensuring an inclusive society where strategic investments to enhance the dignity, capacities, security and wellbeing of older persons benefit the young and old, fostering economic growth opportunities and cohesive communities.

In a presentation titled “The Stakes For Policy and Legal Framework and Implications For Social Inclusion of Older Persons, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mr Bashir Nura Alkali noted that the 2013 and 2015 Global Age watch Index published respectively, in which 96 countries were consecutively assessed, showed that Nigeria's ranking among the 96 selected countries was abysmal: 85th in 2013 and 86th in 2015.

“Variables measured included health and wellbeing, income security, engagement of capacities of older persons and age friendly environment with indicators showing Nigeria in the bottom 10 globally.

“Nigeria at some point was classified as one of the most unfriendly countries in the world to live in old age. This is in spite of our traditional values of concerted family care of older persons and customary community networks and practices that provide succour and respite to older persons”.

The Permanent Secretary however added that the National Policy on Ageing and the National Senior citizens Centre Act 2017 which was also unveiled at the Summit will go a long way in improving the standard of living of ageing persons in the country.

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Health checks were carried out on many Senior Citizens during the summit while awards of excellence were given to 8 deserving senior citizens including Elder Nathaniel Okoro,the first indigenous Managing Director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, Chief Richard Olajide Idowu, the first blind Television Producer and radio presenter as well as Hajiya Saudatu Usman Bungudu, a one time Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development amongst others.

NNEKA IKEM ANIBEZE
SA MEDIA

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