By Lucy Osuizigbo
The Lagos State Government says it will soon begin the construction of Community Day Care Centres to provide conducive atmosphere for older people to interact and relieve fond memories of the past.
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode made the pledge at the 2017 International Day of Older Persons organised by the State Ministry of Youths and Social Development in Lagos on Tuesday.
The theme of 2017 celebration is: “Stepping into The Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Dec. 14, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated every Oct.1 as the International Day of Older Persons.
This is to focus on the pathways that support full and effective participation in old age, in accordance with old persons’ basic rights, needs and preferences.
Ambode, represented by his Deputy, Dr Idiat Adebule, said that the centres, which would cater and protect the dignity of older persons, would be located at Epe, Badagry and Alimosho area of the state.
”Older persons in our society deserve all the care and attention we can give, because they spent their productive years in active service to humanity.
”We recognise them as our priceless assets, reservoir of wisdom and the conscience of the nation that must be cherished and protected.
”We have so much to learn from their wealth of experiences as the knowledge gained will help in avoiding past mistakes and build upon their achievements.
”This administration will continue to prioritise the welfare of our senior citizens by paying backlogs of retirement benefits and provide free healthcare services to make life more comfortable for them,” he said.
Ambode urged families, especially the children to give their best to the older people who had laboured to bring the best out of them.
In his lecture, Prof. Wahab Elias, the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, urged the three tiers of government to create an enabling environment that would enhance the capabilities and provide support for the elderly.
Elias urged the media to continue to create awareness and sensitise the public on matters affecting the older persons in the society.
In her address, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, the Commissioner for Youths and Social Development, said that the older persons play critical role in the society as a powerful force for social cohesion and integration.
”As we face multiple challenges in our world, one factor remain constant; the timeless importance of this elderly and their invaluable contributions in raising the next generation of leaders is commendable.
”This is why the state government will continue to give priority to the welfare of the older persons and other vulnerable members of the state.
”The older persons deserve their pride of place in the scheme of things in this state.
“We must support and encourage them as well as tap from their wealth of experiences and wisdom and put them in the front burner,” she said. (NAN)