The federal government on Saturday reaffirmed its commitment to the well-being of older people in Nigeria, in particular by providing them with quality health care.
Mr. Basheer Alkali, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, said this during the premiere of the film “Silent Scream” in Abuja. The film provides insight into the plight of the elderly in Nigeria as well as the controversies surrounding elderly care.
Alkali, represented by Kuliya, director of the Department of Social Development, expressed the federal government’s commitment to extend health insurance coverage to retirees. He said, “The federal government has established a committee to review insurance for people who have just retired. This committee was the backbone of the Ministry of Health and I am sure the report will be almost ready.”
The Permanent Secretary commended the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) for championing the issues of older persons. He said COSROPIN was a member of the board of directors of the National Senior Citizens Center (NSCC). “I’m glad you know that COSROPIN sits on the Board of Directors of the National Senior Citizens Center. And this seat is not for anyone, it will remain so as long as the National Center for the Elderly exists ”, he declared.
Also speaking, Senator Eze Ajoku, Chairman of COSPORIN, expressed his gratitude to the ministry for its support, saying that the coalition, under his leadership, had been at the forefront of activities around the elderly. “As you mentioned, COSROPIN was at the forefront of most of these activities. COSROPIN brought the bill to the attention of the ministry, we went to the National Assembly, withdrew it and brought it to the attention of the ministry,” he said.
In a remark, Ms. Petra Ologundudu, the coalition’s public relations officer and producer of the film, expressed deep concern over the plight of the elderly in Nigeria. She said “I actually saw what aging is in Nigeria, talking about the plight of the elderly, the plight of being an old person in Nigeria. “As the situation is unfortunate, but over time, they continued to cry, finally the government is listening to the cries of the youngest and the oldest. Because it could be you tomorrow, because if the elderly person is taken care of, the burden will not be so great on the young person.”
Earlier, Mr. Idris Yunus, Chief Imam Abdullateef Adegbite Jumaat Mosque, Gwarimpa, urged Nigerians to always respect and care for the elderly. He said, “As long as you have been created by God, this understanding that you start somewhere, you are somewhere and you reach somewhere, and it is also our prayer that we reach a certain age, which we also respect because of the experience that we have accumulated.”
In addition, Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi, the vice president of the coalition, also said that the elderly are useful to society, due to their vast experience.
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