By Collins Yakubu-Hammer
The National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC), on Tuesday in Abuja launched its Strategic Roadmap on Ageing 2022 to 2032 and the National Plan Action on Ageing in Nigeria and Project Activities 2021 to 2025 respectively.
The Director-General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, in her welcome address, said the occasion was a milestone for the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the NSCC respectively.
According to her, it is also an undeniable date with legacy for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“This is because, it presents evidence of the administrations’ commitment to building inclusive and integrated resilient systems and institutions that can address the challenges of population ageing and cater for the needs of older persons and also explore opportunities.
“Population trend shows speedy increase in the population of older persons, in spite of Nigeria’s youthful population structure. Currently, more than 14.8 million persons of 60 years and above live in Nigeria (NBS NLSS 2019).
“Also, whereas the statutory mandates and corresponding policy goals of 70 per cent of MDAs are universal, and so assumed and reported inclusion of older persons, the institutional indicators showed only seven per cent inclusion of ageing and issues older persons, and most especially when it has to do with pension issues.
“The NSCC Act 2017 and the National Policy on Ageing 2021 provided the fundamental impetus to compel a shift; they provided the framework to address ageing and the challenges of older persons in a comprehensive holistic manner.
“We are here today to unveil the Strategic Roadmap on Ageing 2022-2032 and the National Plan of Action on Ageing and Project Activities being the operationalisation of the National Policy on Ageing,” Omokaro said.
According to the NSCC boss, by these documents, Nigeria takes an optimistic perception of ageing, viewed from lens of diversity of older persons and ageing.
She added that it also framed programmes and services that promote socially and economically active, secured and healthy ageing population.
Omokaro stressed that the project activities are admitted in the National Development Plan 2021to 2025 and the continuing action plan for the implementation of the 2030 SDGs.
“The National Plan of Action on Ageing supports an inclusive vision that addresses the demographic change that is comprehensive, grounded in evidence and based on human rights.
“It identifies the key strategic pathways to enhance quality of life and well being of older persons through programmes and partnerships and a sustainable coordinating framework.
“Similarly, the Plan on Ageing contains key actions for implementation and capacity enhancement and human resource development,” Omokaro said.
Omokaro appreciated Buhari, Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, Save the Children International, UN, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Orientation Agency (NOA), MDAs and other partners for their supports and collaborations.
Meanwhile, Farouq, represented at the event by the Special Adviser on Humanitarian Affairs to Buhari, Alhaji Musa Mongunu, said the need to plan could not be over emphasized.
He added that planning provides the basis for laying a good foundation for success, stressing that the NSCC has started on a sound footing by providing an outline of steps designed with goals of the entire organisation.
“The documents will support the NSCC to achieve the desired coordination, collaboration, cooperations and communication in mainstreaming issues affecting older persons in Nigeria in all critical MDAs.
“As we deliver these two documents or plans into the hands of desk-officers in MDAs, we plead with you to create an inclusive environment for older persons who are particularly vulnerable to disability in old age due to disease susceptibility,” Farouq said.
Meanwhile, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Matthias Schmale, represented by Ms Ajouh Koffie, said every right has equal value, adding that “our rights do not diminish with age.
“This Strategic Roadmap on Ageing is a true recognition of this fact. We hope that this roadmap would ensure that older persons are given space and weight in their development agenda”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the events attracted officials from NDE, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, SMEDAN, NAPTIP, NOA, National Assembly, Save the Children International, Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, Royal and religious leaders and many others.
NAN also reports that while the Strategic Roadmap on Ageing has 74 pages, National Plan of Action on Ageing has 156 pages.
However, high points of the event were the unveiling of the two documents and documentary on Strategic Roadmap to Transformation and Sight and Sounds of Senior-Led Indigenous Craft Empowerment Programme-NSCC Flagship respectively. (NAN)