A cross section of aged citizens in Nigeria

An Abuja based demographer, Mr Adebayo Oluwadare, has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to set right policies that would equip the nation to address challenges faced by the ageing population.

He made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

Oluwadare said there was urgent need to evolve policies that would tackle the numerous social and economic challenges faced by the senior citizens.

According to him, the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) reports that the proportion of older persons aged 65 years and above make up 16 per cent of the global population, and will rise by 27 per cent in 2050.

He said that Sub-Saharan Africa, with the smallest proportion of elderly and aging slower than the developed regions, was projected to see the absolute size of its older population increased between 2000 and 2030.

He, therefore, urged government at all levels to evolve policies and programmes toward better nutrition, sanitation, health care, education and economic well-being for citizens.

He added that if the country had well articulated policies that cut across all strata of the population, there might not be need for extra programmes for the aged “as such policies would have taken care of everyone.”

Dr Ibrahim Adeola, a medical practitioner also in Abuja, said that there was an urgent need for policy engineering and prioritising the issues of older persons in the country to improve their living conditions.

He added that this could be done by restructuring the pension scheme and other social policies in Nigeria to favour the elderly, including those who never worked in any government establishment.

The medical practitioner noted that ageing in Nigeria was occurring against the background of socio-economic hardship, widespread poverty, HIV/AIDS epidemic, and the rapid transformation of traditional extended family structure.