From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The federal government has inaugurated the Governing Board of the National Senior Citizens Centre, chiefly to cater for the needs of the elderly through the establishment of community-based prototype systems.
While inaugurating the board, the government through the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management And Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, explained that the centre was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Farouq further announced that the National Policy on Ageing has been approved by the government which will protect the rights of older persons.
‘Ageing is one of the critical issues placed on the front burner of global discourse. 12.5% of the global population are 60 years and above,’ the minister stated.
‘In Nigeria, ageing is a growing challenge against the background of accumulated socio-economic hardships, absolute high poverty, poor health facilities and lack of access to education over time.
‘While taking steps to reduce poverty and ensure inclusiveness of most Nigerians, this administration has recognized the special needs of older persons as active agents of societal development.
‘It is in this connection that the government made conscious efforts to establish the Centre to develop and implement productive activities, social protection and work schemes for senior citizens in order to improve the quality of life of the elderly and ensure a sense of security and a general feeling of health and worthiness extended to them.’
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Board, Muhammad Muhammad, thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the minister for their support, encouragement and confidence reposed in the members.
‘We are exceedingly delighted to be shouldered with the responsibility of ensuring the provision of welfare and recreation for our senior citizens.
‘These are people who gave their all to this country and in many instances, still working day and night to bequeath a prosperous county for us.
‘I want to assure you that along with the help and cooperation of such hardworking, honest and experienced colleagues, we will work tirelessly to uplift the progress of the Centre,’ he said.
On his part, the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Bashir Nura Alkali promised that the ministry will do everything within its powers to assist the Centre to take off successfully.
Members of the Governing Council of the National Senior Citizens Centre are; AVM M.A. Muhammad, Chairman; Dr Emem Omokaro, Director General; Sani Ibrahim Mustapha, Bulus Frya Kimde, Victoria Onu, Prof Usman Ahmed and Dr John Magbadelo.
Others are; Umar Abdullahi and Dr Chris Osa Isokpunwu, Mr Mansur Kuliya, Dr Dorothy Nwodo, and Prof Mohammed M Namadi.