By Asma’u Ahmad
The United Nations (UN) has pledged to provide technical support to Nigeria in the implementation of the country’s ageing policy.
Ms Rosemary Lane, Senior Social Affairs Officer, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), made this known to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
Lane said a team from UNDESA had brought their international expertise in policies for effective change and policy implementation in Nigeria.
She said the team would not tell government what to do, but would listen to stakeholders and identify what the key issues and recommendations are and work with that, noting that each country has her peculiarities.
“We have to facilitate, arrange workshops with stakeholders to draft policies and get everybody together to talk about the challenges and the way forward.
“I do not think we will tell anyone what they already know, the way forward will be bringing key people together and getting them on agreeing to work together because some ministry knows the importance of ageing and should embrace it,” she said.
Lane, however, expressed gratitude on the Ministry of Labour’s commitment to mainstream ageing in their programmes irrespective of their mandate on youths and employment.
She noted that ageing was a cross cutting issue, stressing that the team will give technical support to Nigeria in order to achieve a desired goal.
Dr Emem Omokaro, the Executive Director, Dave Omokaro Foundation (DOF), also told media men that the UNDESA scooping mission on ageing in Nigeria would help in the development of capacity building in ageing.
She explained that the essence of the UN team was for Nigeria to learn from what they know, be it knowledge base or otherwise, with objective of identifying capacity gaps.
While expressing pleasure with the visit, Omokaro said the advocacy of DOF at the UN and cordial relationship with Rosemary/UNDESA had helped secure the visit and their pledge of technical support for Nigeria on ageing.
She underscored the technical support the team would bring to put a spotlight on ageing mainstreaming and hopefully encouraged a collective advocacy at all levels challenging the social construct and systemic stereotypes that had long promoted exclusion of older persons in sustainable development.
Omokaro believed that the visit would enhance the visibility of ageing and older persons, not only at the highest level of government but also at the highest level of UN agencies in Nigeria engaged in human development programmes and population activities.
Omokaro however urged the National Bureau of Statistics and implementing sectors to acknowledge the gaps and ensure that indicator and reporting template was re-examined and made inclusive of older population across all SDGs.
She bemoaned the exclusion of women aged 50 and above in data collection, adding that the data on violence against older women are usually limited to 15-49 years, while abuse and violence against women continues in old age.
Omokaro therefore advocated for formalisation of stakeholder group on ageing as well as a need to build capacity to support the National Geriatric Strategic Plan and international engagement on ageing, among others.