President Tinubu’s Plan for Older Citizens Revealed
President Tinubu's Focus on Older Citizens in Nigeria
In a significant development aimed at enhancing the welfare of older persons in Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu has instructed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to allocate 10% of its social safety net intervention programs for the elderly. Dr. Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, made this announcement during a stakeholder meeting convened to commemorate the 2023 National Day of Older Persons in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Minister Edu emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of older citizens, stating that President Tinubu’s directive was a reflection of the government’s commitment to ensuring the well-being and quality of life for older persons in the country. She noted that the older population in Nigeria currently numbers approximately 14.8 million.
“The rights of senior citizens in the areas of job security, health, livelihood, agriculture, and other development planning must be considered,” Minister Edu affirmed. “President Tinubu has directed that in all our social welfare initiatives, older persons must be included.”
Furthermore, Edu assured senior citizens of the government’s unwavering resolve to provide them with necessary support, particularly in light of humanitarian crises. She revealed that two new social intervention programs would be inaugurated to cater to the needs of older persons affected by such crises.
“We would inaugurate two of such social intervention programs with an emphasis on senior citizens because we will be providing for senior citizens who are affected by humanitarian crises,” she stated.
Edu also vowed to prioritize the welfare and well-being of older persons as part of the government’s renewed hope agenda, pledging, “Older persons are one of the priorities of the federal government whose lives must be protected.”
In addition to the domestic commitment, Minister Edu called upon United Nations agencies and development partners to integrate the interests and well-being of older citizens into their daily operations.
In response to the announcement, Mr. Matthias Schmale, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, commended Nigeria for establishing the National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC), describing it as a step in the right direction. He stressed the importance of upholding the rights of older persons, citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Ageing is a complex and multifaceted reality that will touch all of us if we are lucky,” Schmale noted.
Dr. Emem Omakaro, the Director-General of the National Senior Citizens Centre, lauded Minister Edu for her presence at the event despite a busy schedule. She expressed optimism that with Edu at the helm of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, older persons in Nigeria would soon experience an improved quality of life.
The directive from President Tinubu, as announced by Minister Edu, marks a significant step toward addressing the unique challenges faced by older persons in Nigeria, reaffirming the government’s commitment to their well-being and rights.