FG restates commitment to welfare of older persons

The Federal Government on Saturday restated its commitment to the welfare of older persons in Nigeria, especially in providing them quality healthcare.

Mr Basheer Alkali, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, said this at the premiere  of a movie ” Silent Scream “in Abuja.

The movie gives an insight into the plight of older persons in Nigeria as well as the controversies surrounding the care of older persons.

Alkali, represented by Mr Mansur Kuliya, Director, Social Development Department, expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to extending health insurance coverage  to retirees.

“The Federal Government has constituted a committee to consider the insurance of people who just retired from service. That committee was spearheaded by the federal ministry of Health and I am sure the report will almost be ready,” he said.

The permanent secretary commended the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN), for championing the affairs of older persons.

He said COSROPIN was a  member of the National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) board.

“I am happy you are aware COSROPIN has a seat on the board of National Senior Citizens Centre. And that seat  is not for anybody, it will remain for you so long as the National Senior Citizens Centre exists”, he said.

Also speaking, Sen. Eze Ajoku, COSPORIN President, expressed gratitude to the ministry for its support, saying that the coalition, under his watch, had been at the forefront of activities around older persons.

“Like you mentioned, COSROPIN was at the forefront of most of these activities.

“COSROPIN brought the the bill to the attention of the ministry, we went to the National Assembly, pulled it out and brought it to attention of the ministry”, he said.

Mrs Petra Ologundudu, Public Relations Officer of the coalition and producer of the movie, expressed great concern over the plight of older persons in Nigeria.

“I have seen in reality what aging in Nigeria is, talking about the plight of older people, the plight of being an older person in Nigeria.

“How unfortunate the situation is, but as time has gone on, they have continued to cry, finally the government is giving ear to the cries of both the younger person and the older person.

“Because it could be you tomorrow, because if the older person is taken care of by the government, the burden will not be so heavy on the youth”, he said .

Earlier, Mr Idris Yunus, Chief Imam Abdullateef Adegbite Jumaat Mosque, Gwarimpa, admonished Nigerians to always respect and care for older persons.

“As long as you were created by God, that understanding that you start somewhere, you are somewhere and you are reaching somewhere.

“And you are reaching somewhere and it is also our prayer that we reach a certain age, whereby people will also give us respect because of  the experience we have gathered”, he said.

Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi, The Vice President of the coalition, said that older persons were useful to the society, because of their vast experience. (NAN)