Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The National Senior Citizens Centre, NSCC; and Abia State Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Ageing, have called for the domestication of the Abia State Senior Citizens Act.
Co-chair/Facilitator, NSCC, Abia State Stakeholders Consultative Forum on Ageing, Mazi Ottih Nwaka made this call during the second edition of the National Day of Older Persons.
The event was organised in collaboration with the Office of the Wife of the Governor; and the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Abia State.
He said that NSCC had prepared the forum to serve and manage the older persons in their various states of the federation.
The Act, according to him, “is a powerful tool in combating ageism, discrimination, neglect, while fostering an inclusive and age-friendly society for all in Abia State.”
He further said that the law when passed, “shall address” issues faced by old persons, ranging from physical, social and psychological challenges due to their livelihood, chronic health conditions, lack of adequate care and support.
“The law shall help our older persons maintain independence, get professional advice on self-care strategies; improve poor communication and coordination of services and improve lack of information on services such as care pathways,” he added.
He also said that the law “shall also serve as a powerful tool in combating ageism, discrimination, neglect, while fostering an inclusive and age-friendly society for all in Abia State.”
Continuing, he said the law “shall contribute to a shift in societal attitudes and practices by raising awareness and setting standards for the treatment of older people, ultimately fostering a culture of respect and care for our older population. We must do this for posterity and fir the generation unborn.”
In her speech, wife of the Governor, Mrs Priscilla Otti, called for the acknowledgement of the rights of old people.
“We should show our commitment to ensuring the welfare and dignity of our older citizens,” she said.
Mrs Otti acknowledged that elderly ones often face unique challenges – from health care to social inclusion and economic security.
She said the Governor had ensured “prompt payment of pensions, providing financial security.”
“We have launched a free medical scheme for quality healthcare services, showing our gratitude for their lifelong contributions,” she added.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Ngozi Blessing Felix, advised, that the stakeholders play their part for the Act when eventually passed into law, to succeed.
“We must ensure their active engagement, full participation and essential contributions, including through social and workplace policies built around their specific needs and rights.”
In her goodwill message, the Director General of National Senior Citizens Centre, NSCC Emem Omokaro called for enhanced understanding of opportunities, challenges of older persons in Nigerian.
Wheelchairs and other gifts were presented to members of NSCC from across the state by the Governor’s wife.