DG NSCC flanked by participants at the opening of the workshop held at Chida International Hotel Abuja
By Ignatius Ushie
National Senior citizens Center (NSCC) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is holding a 2-day workshop for desk officers on the implementation of NSCC Strategic Roadmap on Ageing 2022-2032 and National Plan of Action on Ageing in Nigeria and project activities 2021-2025.
Speaking at the workshop in Abuja, on Tuesday, the Director General (NSCC), Emem Omokaro stated that the number of persons 60 years and above is increasing and it is projected to double by 2030 according to the Global Age Watch Index.
In her welcome address, Dr. Omokaro stated that the objectives of the 2-day workshop for Desks officers was to increase the understanding of Ageing Desk Officers in all relevant MDAs on their roles and responsibilities in the implementation of NSCC strategic roadmap and to develop Desk Officer engagement framework towards increasing feedback and Desk Officers’ effectiveness, adding that a Desk Officers’ engagement framework will be developed to outline the model of engagement, key actions, approach to capacity building and performance measurements and principle of engagement.
According to her, “So far, NSCC has through partnership successfully mainstreamed older persons into the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Matured People Program, signed an MoU with FMoH, NPHCDA, NOA, NHCRC, LACON, NAPTIP and more to come.
“With the desk officers, we should be able to strengthen NSCC’s partnerships with the various MDAs, where they already exist and to leverage on the enhanced understanding of ageing and issues of older persons to evolve more effective partnerships and collaborations on mainstreaming ageing into specific programs and services”, she said.
The National plan of Action on Ageing in Nigeria and the NSCC strategic roadmap have recognized that as a result of increasing number of older persons and their diversity, ageing must be situated at the forefront of development efforts, noting that over 80 million Nigerians including over 3 million older persons still live in extreme poverty and the consistent neglect of older persons calls for a national emergency which requires a coordinated approach from all relevant stakeholders.
The DG further stated that the strategic roadmap recognizes that the next 10 years is crucial to the success of NSCC, however, consultation during the strategic development indicated that poor understanding of Ageing issues across relevant MDAs, Actors concerning older persons is a major challenge in addressing Ageing related issues.
Representing the Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, Musa Bungudu, commended the efforts of the NSCC DG, noting that her ability to reach out to partners in order to move the Centre forward is better imagined.
“As I am talking to you, there are about 42 different MDAs that have signed an MoU to collaborate with the Senior citizens Center.
“Virtually in all states we have Chairs and Vice Chairs with no fewer than 6 officers and their key function is to support, initiate and facilitate the Programmes that are targeted at senior citizens.”
He emphasized that the idea behind the workshop is to ensure that the Desks Officers are effective, efficient and professional in carrying out their duties as regards NSCC goals and objectives regarding the aged, and to reach out to governments at all levels to relay the hopes and aspirations of all stakeholders to make them a reality.
Mr. Bungudu urged the participants to count themselves lucky and not take it for granted.
The workshop had Desk Officers from 40 MDAs in attendance as well as officers from three House Committee on Disabilities, Poverty Alleviation and Committee on Women and Social Development. The onsite workshop/training is also on the implementation of Strategic Roadmap on Ageing and Project Activities.