The Director General, National Senior Citizens Center, (NSCC), Emem Omokaro has said that the agency will leverage existing social, health and economic systems and structures to enhance the well-being of all older people in Nigeria.
The DG said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the inaugural press conference of the agency convened in commemoration of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) with the theme,”Access to Justice.”
According to her, against this backdrop, the entire world voices its opposition to any form of abuse of older persons by assessing national plans of action and how they address systemic drivers of older persons’ vulnerabilities, their susceptibility to abuse and their ability to seek and obtain remedies through formal or informal institutions of justice for grievances in compliance with human rights standards.
Omokaro who lamented many years of indifference, said Nigeria’s senior citizens now have a focal centre saddled with the responsibility of enhancing their welfare.
She assured that in view of her appointment by President Buhari as the Director General of the NSCC and the inauguration of its Board by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Farouq, she can certainly affirm Nigeria’s readiness to optimally address the challenges that are being faced by its senior citizens.
The DG lauded the historic and strategic national developmental initiatives of the administration of President Buhari to facilitate older persons’ integration into development,
She therefore stressed that by establishing the institutions, policy processes, human resource and integration mechanisms that will harness the voices of older persons, empower and facilitate their inclusion in health, social and economic opportunities, Nigeria is now situated to address the key drivers of older persons vulnerabilities that make them older persons susceptible to abuse.
According to her, the context of ageing legislations, policies and strategic plans, when sufficiently translated into citizens orientation, funded programs and activities, are able to enhance capacities of older persons, providing support services for special needs population including facilitating access to Justice;
She stressed that the agency will leverage existing economic systems and structures to improve the wellbeing of senior citizens in the country.
She said,”The National Senior Citizens Center adopts a optimistic perspective on ageing and will leverage existing social, health and economic systems and structures or forge new ones to enhance the capacities, engagement and well-being of all older people.
“Programs will be developed in conjunction with older people and stakeholder constituents to eliminate age-based discrimination and exclusion in later life, reduce key vulnerabilities and inequalities especially in rural areas, and support and harness older people’s intergenerational roles and influences.”
She thanked President Buhari and the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq for the Ministry’s attention to age equality; for laying the necessary legislative and policy foundations for programs and services which will effectively facilitate older persons’ right to health care, income security, lifelong learning opportunities, engagement of capacities, enjoyment of freedom, independence, and happiness on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.
“These, are at the core of human dignity.
“The Press, Older persons and stakeholders in ageing owe you a debt of gratitude.
“Henceforth, we hope Nigeria media and citizens in Nigeria will give due attention to WEAAD, in support of our senior citizens,” she said.
The DG said the National Senior Citizens Center Act is a land mark legislation and its mandates the Center to provide for the dignity , security, and wellbeing of senior citizens in a variety of domains, including Health, Social Programs, recreation, sports training and capacity enhancement and, the facilitation of work schemes for seniors, the building of senior centers across the country; Research and development of data base on older persons; regional and international linkages and partnerships in pursuance of the National Center’s Mandate.
She added that the vision, mission, goals and, objectives of the National Senior Citizens’ Center align with National Policy on Ageing and its strategic interventions as well as the Policy measures for older persons in the revised National Social Protection Policy , SDGs Agenda 2030, 2020-2030 Healthy Ageing Strategy, The Gender Policy and the Mid-Term National Development Plan 2021-2025.
According to her, these, present for the Board, tangible guide for the development of the National Center’s strategic implementation plan.
The envisioned organogram with critical Specialty Departments will be razor focused on delivering the mandate of the National Center as prescribed in the Act: citizens’ orientation on , Advocacy and Ageing integration; Health and Social Care.
Others are Special Needs population; Care Quality regulation, Social Programs and Support Services; Continuing Engagement Bureau and Intergenerational Programs; Rural Community Engagement and Livelihood Development, among others.
The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, provides the opportunity for the global community to appreciate older persons and the contributions they continue to make to enhance the wellbeing of families, communities and the nation and, also to call attention to their human rights situations.
It is a day set aside to create awareness and deepen understanding of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting older persons; to recognize and assess the stereotypes, prejudices, discrimination, neglect, violence and stigmatization they face within households, communities, Private and public institutions, where they expect a level of trust.
WEAAD is commemorated every year on June 15th. It was launched in year 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization (WHO) and ratified by the United Nations’ General Assembly under its Resolution 66/127 of 2011.