The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has hailed elderly persons in the state for their invaluable contributions to the growth and development of the State, reassuring that his government will sustain reforms and programmes to guarantee the health and wellbeing of the senior citizens.
Obaseki, in a statement to commemorate this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day marked by the United Nations and its sister agencies, urged for greater action to protect the elderly, ensuring better laws and policies to safeguard them from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The theme of the 2023 celebration is “Addressing Gender-Based Violence in Older Age Policy, Law and Evidence-based Responses,” and draws attention to the need to prioritize efforts to prevent and respond to abuse of older persons and contribute to improving their health, well-being and dignity.
Noting that this year’s theme resonates deeply with the government’s commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment for aged persons in the State, Obaseki called for more action to sustain the global effort to protect the elderly population, including strengthening the legal framework and mechanisms as well as increasing partnerships, among others.
According to Obaseki, “Our elderly citizens have contributed significantly to the growth and development of our society. They have toiled and sacrificed to build the foundation upon which our state thrives today. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure that they age gracefully, free from any form of harm, abuse, or mistreatment.
“This is why we have continued to prioritize the elderly in our plans to develop our dear State and improve the lives of our people, ensuring policies and programmes to guarantee their health, well-being and dignity.”
He added, “We have ensured prompt and regular payment of pensions to our senior citizens, ending the dark days when elderly persons in the State had to queue under the sun daily lamenting over unpaid pensions and arrears.
“We are guaranteeing unlimited access to affordable and quality healthcare delivery to our elderly population through the Edo State Health Insurance Scheme, among other programmes and projects undertaken by the government to cater and protect our elderly population, ensuring that they live a fulfilling life, free from fear, discrimination, and abuse. The contributory pension scheme has been mainstreamed to ensure that workers do not suffer abuse in old age as an efficient system has been set up to take care of their needs.”