Dr. Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, says President Bola Tinubu has directed her ministry to reserve 10 per cent of social safety net intervention for older persons.
This is contained in a statement issued on Thursday by her Media aide, Mr Rasheed Zubair, in Abuja.
It stated that the minister was speaking during a stakeholders meeting to commemorate the 2023 National Day of Older Persons in Nigeria.
”Mr President has directed that my Ministry should set aside 10% of social safety net intervention programmes for older persons in the country.
”The right of senior citizens in the areas of job security, health, livelihood, agriculture and other development planning must be considered.
Presently, older persons are said to be about 14.8 million out of the entire population, that’s why President directed that in all our social welfare interface older persons must be involved,” she said.
Edu assured the senior citizens of the federal government’s resolve to provide them with necessary support towards improving the quality of their lives.
“The President also directed that those who are under the poverty line must be assisted and captured in the social interventions programmes.
”We would inaugurate two of such social intervention programmes with emphasis on senior citizens because we will be providing for senior citizens who are affected by humanitarian crises,” she said.
She assured them of the administration’s readiness to priorities their welfare and well-being especially in its renewed hope agenda.
Edu assured the citizens that the government of President Tinubu would do everything possible to prevent older persons from slipping below the poverty line in the country.
“Older persons are one of the priorities of the federal government whose lives must be protected.”
The minister appealed to UN agencies and development partners to factor in the interest and well-being of older citizens in their day-to-day operations.
On his part, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Matthias Schmale, said the engagement offered stakeholders the opportunity to reflect on the impact of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Schmale especially noted the protection of the rights of older persons, and commended Nigeria for establishing the National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC), saying it is a step in the right direction.
He regretted that despite the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, older persons continue to face obstacles in the enjoyment and exercise of their human rights.
“Ageing is a complex and multifaceted reality that will touch all of us if we are lucky.”
The Director-General of the National Senior Citizens Centre, Dr Emem Omakaro, commended the minister for attending the event despite her tight schedule.
Omokaro explained that the centre, which began operation in 2021, has in the short period brought to the fore the plight of older persons in Nigeria.
She expressed optimism that with Edu in charge of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation older persons in Nigeria would soon enjoy a new lease of life.