By Chimezie Godfrey
The Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Sadiya Farouq has called for the protection of rights of older persons in Nigeria.
The Minister made the call at a briefing to mark the International Day of Older persons on Wednesday in Abuja.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary Alhaji Nura Alkali, the Minister said Older persons play a significant role in the society as leaders, custodians of tradition and role models and deserve to be treated with respect, patience and dignity.
“This year’s edition of the International Day of Older Persons is timely, given the Covid-19 pandemic which significantly affected older persons globally.
“Pandemics place older persons at greater risk as they are prone to diseases, physical, psychological and financial abuse including exploitation and neglect.
“Sadly, many of them are vulnerable and face discrimination and abuse due to failing health and other psychological challenges associated with aging.
“On this day set aside to celebrate older persons and recognize their contributions to the society, I urge us all to treat them with respect, dignity and patience. Old age is not a disease or disadvantage but a blessing and a season of life we all aspire to attain,” she said.
The Minister thanked Older persons for their contributions to nation building and assured them of the ministry’s support to make life easier for them.
She also reiterated government’s commitment towards the establishment and successful take off of the National Senior Citizen’s Centre which is expected to provide training and opportunities to develop productive activities and work schemes for senior citizens.
This year’s theme is Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Aging?”