The Federal Government, yesterday, said 200,000 of the most vulnerable citizens in urban areas would receive its COVID-19 conditional cash transfer before the end of August 2021.
National Coordinator, National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office (NASSCO), Lorwa Akpere, made this known in Abuja during the maiden dialogue of the senior citizen’s forum.
Noting that the government has registered 8.5 million households on the social register, he said: “200,000 senior citizens in urban areas have been targeted to receive the COVID-19 cash transfer. When the data is ready, the payment starts this month. This social register of 35 million individuals has over three per cent of senior citizens, which is about 2 million.”
According to him, “Those who identify the poor and vulnerable are community members themselves that say, ‘In this group, here are the vulnerable’. We are not targeting all senior citizens.”
He said the move was in line with the directive of the Federal Government that senior citizens must be captured under the COVID-19 conditional cash transfer programme, which targets one million people across the country.
According to Akpere, the register is made up of 35 million individuals from 96,000 communities across the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He explained that the Office would disaggregate the location of senior citizens by their age, gender, educational level, vocation and status in terms of disability and illness so that help could reach them.
In her keynote address, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Social Disaster and Development, Sadiya Umar Forouq, who lamented the effects of poverty, hunger and the COVID-19 pandemic, noted that any responsible government must fashion policies and legal frameworks to ensure the inclusion of its vulnerable population.
According to her, the efforts of the Federal Government are tailored towards the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals with the mantra: ‘Leave No One Behind.
By developing the National Policy on Ageing and establishing the National Senior Citizens Centre, Farouq said the current administration has ensured that the very essential institutions, systems and mechanisms to facilitate the quality of life, economic and social participation of older persons are guaranteed.
She noted that the challenges of older persons and the opportunities that accrue from meeting the challenges are integrated into Nigeria’s development plans.
She maintained that with the establishment of the National Senior Citizens Centre, the concerns of older persons would no longer be handled arbitrarily but addressed comprehensively as detailed in the National Senior Citizens Act and the National Policy on Ageing.
“The now instituted Older Persons Safety-net Programme, which targets very poor and vulnerable older persons, attests to the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to age-inclusive development,” the minister added.