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Betta Edu: FG’ll reserve 10% of social intervention programmes for older citizens

Betta Edu, minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Betta Edu, minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation,

Betta Edu, minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, says President Bola Tinubu has directed that 10 percent of social safety intervention programmes be reserved for older citizens.

Edu spoke on Thursday at an event to commemorate the international day of older persons organised by the national senior citizens’ centre in partnership with the United Nations (UN) in Abuja.

She said the federal government is committed to ensuring that older citizens in the country are not living below the poverty line.

Edu said the country has over 14 million senior citizens, adding that the ministry will introduce two social intervention programmes for older persons this year.

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“Presently, older persons are said to be about 14.8 million of the entire population. All the citizens at all levels must be protected,” she said.

“And that’s why President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has rightly directed that in all our social welfare interface, which is the social safety net, we must ensure the protection of all Nigerians including the older citizens and prevent them from slipping below the poverty line.

“The president also directed that those who are under the poverty line must be assisted to get out of it and must be captured in the social intervention programmes.

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“We will be providing for senior citizens who are affected by humanitarian crisis. We will be working with the centre on this.

“I’m very proud of what the centre is doing in terms of creating a model home where all the senior citizens can feel dignified.”

On his part, Matthias Schmale, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, said older persons in the country continue to encounter challenges despite the 1948 universal declaration on human rights.

The universal declaration on human rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on December 10, 1948, and outlines 30 fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens.

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“Ageing is a complex and multifaceted reality that will touch all of us if we are lucky,” Schmale said.

“It is my sincere hope that today’s dialogue will allow for reflections on effective promotion and protection of older persons in Nigeria, focusing on their contributions throughout their lives, for the knowledge and expertise they can pass on to younger generations.”

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