By Habibu Harisu, Sokoto.
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has assured of maximum support towards the domestication of National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) Act and implementation of policies on ageing for older persons in the state.
Tambuwal gave the assurance when he received the Director-General of National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC), Dr Emem Omokaro, and the management team on courtesy visit on Friday.
The governor, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Mainasara Ahmad, said that his administration prioritised payment of gratuity and pensions of retired workers in the state.
Tambuwal said that the state government ensured inclusion of elderly persons in its support and empowerment programmes.
“This government is highly sympathetic to the ageing and senior citizens. who are people that need to be handled well; it will be a disservice for a nation to discard senior citizens after using them.
“I assure you that the present administration will work to ensure the domestication of NSCC Act, to address the concerns on older persons,” he said.
Tambuwal commended the National Assembly (NASS) and President Muhammadu Buhari for passing and signing the National Senior Citizens Centre Bill into law and for implementing policies on ageing for older persons.
Earlier, Omokaro urged the state government to implement the policy for the betterment of older persons.
She said that NSCC was a statutory agency established by the National Senior Citizens Act of the NASS to cater for the needs of the ageing persons in Nigeria.
“The centre was established, pursuant to the National Senior Citizens Centre Act, 2017, with the mandate to identify needs of senior citizens in Nigeria and to cater for them,” she said.
Omokaro said that the statutory remit of the NSCC was also rooted in the National Policy on Ageing for Older Persons in Nigeria 2021, and other international and regional instruments.
She added that the centre sought to guarantee security, independence, participation, comprehensive care, self-fulfilment and dignity of older persons in the society.
The director-general stressed that NSCC was the first distinct national corporate body focused on the inclusion of senior citizens in sustainable development.
She also identified the functions of the centre to include identifying the needs, training and opportunities for senior citizens.
Omokaro said that the centre would also develop and implement productive activities as well as work schemes aimed at providing income for older persons.
“It also seeks to promote and maintain linkages with states and local governments as well as maintain a credible database.
“As a first step, the NSCC had established in each of the 36 states and the FCT, a Stakeholder Consultative Forum whose eight members are primarily from the field of ageing and related matters.
“The state stakeholders’ consultative forum constitute the National Stakeholders Consultative Forum, which was inaugurated in the second quarter of this year by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development,” she said.
Omokaro said: “The overall objective is to build synergies through stakeholders’ partnerships and networks across the 36 states of the federation and FCT.
“This solid governance structure is effective as a tool for outreach, advocacy and implementation of pragmatic interventions at sub-national levels.
“These efforts are positioned to enable the domestication of the National Senior Citizens Act, 2017 by all the states in Nigeria, by sensitising and mobilising policymakers towards the accelerated inclusion.”
She said that the government had been alive to its responsibilities by payment of pension and gratuity.
The director-general later presented pamphlets, copies of laws and regulations of NSCC to the governor.