By Chinenye Offor
More than nine million Nigerians are aged and need social welfare security, said
Dr Emen Omokaro, the Executive Director, Dave Omokaro Foundation (DOF),which has been tracking the demographic group for several years.
Omokaro gave the figure on Friday during an advocacy visit to the Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Bayo Onanuga, in Abuja.
“Ageing is inevitable and increasingly people are becoming healthier and growing old. Over 9 million Nigerians are currently aged 60 plus.
“This figure is rising from 8.4 million in 2015 and projected to reach 15 million by 2030 and 29 million in 2050.
“The population of older persons is growing at 3.3 per cent census rate which will have impact on the social system and is Nigeria ready for it?’’ Omokaro said.
However, she commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law the Senior Citizens Centre bill.
Omokaro noted that Buhari’s action was in line with the mandate of the foundation.
According to her, the foundation is focusing on issues of ageing and development, capacity building and mainstreaming ageing over the years.
“The foundation also focused on canvassing for Nigeria to have policies on ageing, national framework on ageing as well promoting life course,’’ the executive director said.
She said that DOF has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Human Rights Commission with the aim of ensuring the welfare and rights of elderly persons in Nigeria.
Omokaro further said that the foundation was collaborating with the ministries of national planning, health, education, women and youths as well as National Population Commission, among other MDAs, to sensitise them on the need to include the aged in policies.
She thanked NAN for promoting issues of ageing and development over the years and solicited further support.
The executive director announced a five-day capacity building in March to empower drivers of the policy.
Onanuga said lack of welfare for the aged in Nigeria is a contributory factor to corruption.
“We don’t have programme to cater for the aged in our country as done in the developed countries.
“The issue of corruption that we keep facing in the society may well be due to lack of social welfare policies for the old people.
“We will help to mainstream ageing so that the Federal Government as well as State Governments will also get involved in the cause,” he said.
He pledged the support of NAN in creating more awareness in mainstreaming ageing issues and thanked the foundation for giving workers of the agency an opportunity to be trained.