As Nigeria joins the world to mark the International Day of Older Persons October 1, the National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC), has said that it acknowledges Senior Citizens in Nigeria as an invaluable resource base and positive force for national development across sectors of the nation’s economy.
The Director General of NSCC, Dr. Emem Omokaro while commemorating the day with the theme, “Digital Equity for All Ages”, expressed optimism that Nigeria is embracing a comprehensive vision that protects the human rights of older persons, which entails universal access to services, including digital technology eco-system for active and equal participation in governance, enjoyment of benefits and economic growth opportunities.
In a statement made available to The Sight News by the Head, Public Affairs, Media & Communications, Omini Oden, he disclosed that Dr. Omokaro applauded President, Muhammadu Buhari for the launch of an Inclusive Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 to 2030 which inclusive vision will transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy that will provide quality life for ALL as well as build a nation where digital innovation and entrepreneurship will be deployed to create value for all.
The eight strategic pillars of the policy Dr. Omokaro said, aligns with the National Senior Citizens Centre Act 2017 and strategic objectives of the National Policy on Ageing, which prescribes training needs including digital literacy, enhanced capacities of senior citizens, creating innovative income initiatives and work schemes, health, sports, recreation and building database for senior citizens in Nigeria.
In line with this year’s theme which is “Digital Equity for All Ages”, the DG said that digital technologies which, by the speed of light, continue to liberate face to face interactions and to create on-line sources, means and platforms for transactions and social connections in all aspects of life should be universally accessed.
These include; e-health care-doctors on call; e-commerce, online shopping, online banking, online working, help-call lines; e-learning, e-conferences, vital registration portals among others with unfettered transformative impact.
Dr. Emem Omokaro insisted, that globally, without a deliberate policy, legal, capacity development frameworks and mechanisms to ensure inclusive multi-networks, anchored on equity, with obvious challenges of amenities and services availability, affordability, connectivity, designs and acceptance, the vulnerable, the illiterate, the poor, especially older persons in rural and remote locations would be left behind in all aspects of life.
She explained that COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown exposed the impact of the digital divide especially, as it affects older persons, leading to increasing isolation, loneliness, limited access to services, depression and abuse.
“On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Senior Citizens Centre joins the global community to advocate an end to ageism and its assumptions, prejudices, exclusion and promotes optimistic view of older persons’ latent transformative potentials as well as their continuing participation and enhanced capacities, including creating opportunities for digital literacy and skills, to navigate emerging digital environments without barriers”, the statement concluded.