…Demand N52.9bn social package
…Say don’t allow our case be like Italy, New York, others
…Urge Buhari to make wearing of mast mandatory
By Chris Ochayi
At least 9.6 million older persons in the country have pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to provide N52.9 billion as a special security package for them as a palliative for the coronavirus pandemic.
The persons operating under the umbrella of Coalition of Society for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria, COSROPIN, urged the administration to deploy the services of the Councillors, town hall union executive and community leaders to ensure the funds get to them.
Addressing a press conference Friday in Abuja, the President of COSROPIN, Senator, Dr. Eze Ajoku, further urged the government to rely on the statistic by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, which puts Nigerians that are from 60 years and above at 9.6 million persons.
Senator Ajoku added that, “With 774 Local Government Areas and 8,809 wards as per last INEC statistics, it will appear there is an average of 1,091 older persons in each ward, which we suspect many of them are in metropolitan cities and like me can fend for themselves or are pension and gratuity.
“We therefore assume that each ward may still on the average have up to 300 older persons that need support in our rural areas. If that statistics is accepted, the government monthly will need to be specifically budget N13.2 billion to provide social protection of N5, 000 to each older person in Nigeria.”
He said that, “but going by the current pay out of N20, 000 for two months, government needs tp provide N52.9 billion.”
Senator Ajoku charged the government to urgently put in place adequate measures that would guarantee their protection from the ravenous coronavirus, COVOD-19 pandemic; they said devouring mostly people in their age bracket across the world.
He lamented that they are under perennial fears over concerns raised by rumours from Italy and New York, which suggested that the older persons have become the least priority in the plan to save lives.
According to him, older persons were not carriers of this virus but often get infected by younger people whose higher immunity can help them to survive whereas the older persons, because of underlying old health issues, have low immunity.
Senator Ajoku, was supported by other executive members of the coalition including, a former Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIGP, S.A Aiyewumi, Vice President of the coalition, Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi, former military Administrator of Kogi state, Colonel Paul Omeruo, rted, and Mrs. Victoria Onu among others.
Presenting the text of the briefing entitled, “The role of government in prioritising older persons in the COVID-19 social intervention and economic palliative”, also, called on President Buhari to make wearing of masks by all Nigerian mandatory.
According to him, “Making the wearing of mask by Nigerians mandatory will go a long way in helping to reduce the spread of the virus.
“In the Nigerian situation, there are places that the mandatory social distancing will be difficult to maintain especially in our density populated urban slums with overcrowded households.
“Also, there are many parts of the country where there are no running tap water making the regular washing of hand with soap difficult. What is then the option for prevention?
“That is why COSROPIN believes that the wearing of mask by all Nigerians will help to reduce person to person transmission. With a mask, small and large drooping from infected people are minimized on surfaces or direct contact with people.
“The mask will protect me from you and protect you from me. With the mask, the tendency to touch the mouth and the nose regularly is also reduced.
“We therefore, call on Mr. President to make wearing of mask by all Nigerians everywhere mandatory. The government should provide quality masks or people should be encouraged to and taught how to make their own masks, how to wear them and make them clean.”