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14.9m older persons to be engage soon-DG, Senior Citizen Centre

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Dr Emem Omokaro, the Director-General of National Senior Citizen Centre says, plans are ongoing to engage the 14.9 million older persons in the country to be productive and contribute to the economy activities of their communities.

Dr Emem Omokaro, DG, National Senior Citizens Centre


Omokaro disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.

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She said the National Policy on Aging, which was recently approved, defined a senior citizen as someone that is 60 year-old and above.

”From the Nigerian Living Standard Survey carried out by the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) in 2019, we have about 14.9 million older persons.

“We are working with the ICT to extract the data in the statistics. About 70 per cent of those in the statistics are in rural areas.

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“We are setting our strategy essentially to ensure provision of programmes and services and accessibility. We have done our desk review.

“What the Act mandate us to do is the provision of health, social programmes, entrepreneurship, work schemes, educational and living opportunities, among others,’’ Omokaro said.

She said the Centre would leverage on the already existing structures like Primary Healthcare facilities, National Social Safety Net Office, Ministries of Humanitarian Affairs, Health, Agriculture and Rural Development and many others to engage the Senior Citizens.

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She maintained that engaging the 14.9 million older persons in Nigeria is doable when broken down by states and local government areas.

According to her, it is something that can be handle, because there is no state that has up to a million older persons, not even nine hundred thousand.

“So by the time we break it down for them to see the numbers, we will go further and break it down into Local Government Areas. We intend to do that with multisector indicators.

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“The multi indicator Survey on Aging will help us to know where senior citizens are, their socioeconomic status, sex, education, engagement, level of engagement, etc.

“This is because it is when you know their diversity that you can actually come in, and effectively engage them,’’ she said.

Omokaro explained that one of the Centre’s objectives was to promote aging and older persons.

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She maintained that Investing to enhance their capacity is equivalent to investing in enterprises, adding that there is going to be a documentary that will speak to that.

“We are not only going to have a programme for older persons, we are going to give them opportunities to continue to contribute their wealth of experience in their communities.

“The traditional believe is that when you retire, you are no longer useful, but the truth is that, these retirees possess all their institutional memories, experts and goodwill acquired over the years.

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“So one of our programmes is creating opportunity for volunteering. If you are a retiree or when you retired, come and register, tell us what you are interested in.

“We will create programmes to give you opportunity to give back to the society in terms of knowledge, experience and expertise,so that you don’t go to the grave with them. This will encourage active aging,’’ Omokaro stressed.

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