The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development says it is collaborating with United Nations to generate data of aged population in Nigeria towards enhancing the basic rights and privileges of senior citizens.
Hajia Aisha Abubakar, Supervising Minister, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, made this known at SGA Africa, the maiden edition Annual Regional Conference on Ageing in Abuja on Monday.
The minister, represented by Mrs Temitope Bambgoye, Director Social Welfare Department of the ministry, said the theme of the conference`’new consensus for innovative multi-level engagements’ is very relevant to the mandate of the ministry on Ageing.
She said the ministry was working with UN to have a comprehensive data on the aged population for effective planning and implementation of key interventions and support in Nigeria.
“We realise that Ageing issue is now taking a new global dimension and data was key and basic in delivering the desired services for the older persons in Nigeria,’’ she said.
She said the ministry has designed a lot programmes and policies on aging, adding that the ministry is currently reviewing the National Policy on Ageing to ensure that key stakeholders are on board.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the conference created an avenue for the relevant stakeholders on ageing to further appreciate the phenomenon of ageing and its intersecting issues.
The minister, represented by Mrs Dorcas Ajiboye, said the conference provides an avenue to further appreciate the extent of deprivation or exclusion confronting the elderly persons in the society.
“The conference presents an opportunity for all stakeholders to have their mark in innovative ways of care for the elderly, share their national and regional experiences and learn from one another.
“It is also a way to harness ideas on strategies that could be explored in countering all the attendant travails of ageing and making care for the elderly to occupy a priority position in our laws and policies,’’ he said.
The minister noted that income security was one of the major issues confronting the ageing population in Nigeria.
According to him, old age brings with it reduced capacity for work as well as difficulties in accessing health care and other essential services.
“Elderly people are more and more vulnerable to the effects of economic change, and those without savings, assets, or capacity to generate income are among the least able to withstand economic shocks.
He said the ministry was actively brainstorming on the avenues for a social scheme through which protection could be guaranteed to individuals and households with elderly persons.
He added that the proposed social scheme would ensure improve access to health care and guaranty income security.
“The ministry strives to find a proven means of reducing poverty and supporting multi-generational households in avenues that will safeguard individuals against deprivation.
“The ministry will also provide for unexpected contingencies impacting in the ability to earn an income or to mobilise resources to care for one-self.”
Similarly, Malam Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, said there was a need for a comprehensive policy on Ageing that takes care of the basic rights of the aged health wise and education wise.
Adamu, represented by Mrs Florence Otaru, National Coordinator, HIV/AIDS at the ministry, appealed for safe homes and lounges for the aged as it was the practice in United States, Britain and other developed countries.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that SGA Africa is an African regional coalition of organisations including civil societies, professional bodies and human rights institutes, among others.
SGA Africa seeks an Africa for all ages in which older people enjoy their rights and maximally utilise their potentials.
The maiden regional conference is to share national and sub-regional experiences and lessons on the various ways, government and stakeholders in Africa are engaging to achieve the implementation of SDG and AU agenda 2063.
It also aimed to devise key messages to change the perception and negative narrative about ageing and older persons as frail, burdensome and mere consumers to healthy ageing.
The conference also aimed at providing an innovative social enterprise construct for dignified socio-economic engagement of older persons.