By Fortune Abang
The National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) has called for continuous collaboration with the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), to achieve national growth through production of data on older persons.
The Director General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, said this during a courtesy visit to the office of the Statistician General of the Federation, Dr Simon Harry, on Friday in Abuja.
She said that the Centre was established by the NSCC Act of 2017 of the National Assembly, as a focal agency to identify the needs of senior citizens and to cater for them.
According to her, the meeting with the NBS is centered on production of data on older persons and the NSCC mandate on identifying the needs of Senior citizens and catering for them.
Omokaro said, “For the first time since the history of this country, we now have a national policy on aging that aligns with the Act.
“We now have an agency that can coordinate, initiate and collaborate with other MDAs who incidentally are the agencies that have the statutory mandate.
“For us to be able to collaborate effectively in all these intersecting areas, it means that we must have data, we must have the statistics and we must know the numbers.
“Before now, it was very difficult to have older persons included in national surveys; we need to know these older persons, who they are and where they are, their living arrangement, and socioeconomic status.
“To know their health conditions and common medical situations; NBS is always in the field, so we want to depend on NBS, as much as we depend on other administrative data sources.”
She observed that there had been controversy on the actual numbers of older persons, saying we are always using about and some government agencies are putting the figure at about 9.8 million.
She noted the current ranking by NBS puts it at 14 million, adding that there is the need to harmonize the figure to promote unity, particularly before international agencies, about community in Nigeria.
Responding, Harry, also Director General and Chief Executive Officer of NBS, commended Omokaro and her team for their initiative, saying it is a right step in the right direction.
According to him, the establishment of the centre had further shown government’s commitment towards the wellbeing of the aged Nigerian citizens.
“The commitment of the government is demonstrated by the establishment of this centre and I believe with the centre, a lot will be done as regards the aged.
“The NBS is a national statistical office of Nigeria saddled with the responsibility of producing official statistics, cutting across all facets of human endeavours.
“We do that in collaboration with all relevant agencies, both within the public and private sector, then going down to the sub-national level that is very key.
“Which informs the reason our task of coordinating statistical activities nationwide is germane, so that we will as much as possible ensure consistency in data protection and ensure transparency in what we do.
“The data we produce is not in conflict with one another and of course we produce data of high integrity, so far as the issue of the aged in the society is concerned,” Harry said. (NAN)