Nigeria@50:The Plight of the senior citizens

Posted September 13, 2010 from Nigeria

It is so disheartening to say the least that at the 50th anniversary of Nigeria's independence, the plight of the Nigerian elderly is not colse to being addressed by the government.Our senior citizens who have served and contributed immensely to the development of the country so far are left to the mercies of fate.

The government has not provided any social facility that could help the elderly manage their lonely feelings or engage their wandering minds.The senior citizens need facilities that will encourage friendship,where they can share stories about the good old days, where they can do some craft works and learn the new technology like the computer operation.

Not even an edict that will allow the elderly have fast track services in public places like the banking halls, the post office, the shopping malls or at the bus-stops.The rate of road traffic deaths that involve the senior citizens is quite disturbing as no intervention programme is lined up to stop this.The vulnerable road users always find it difficult to cross the busy roads, especially during the peak hours because most Nigerian drivers do not respoect the right of the pedestrians, not even at the zebra crossing markings.

The Nigerian system does not support the elderly in most areas, for example, the seniors' benefits as retirees are not always paid as at when due.The verification and payment exercises are quite worrisome and not convenient for the seniors at all.Most times, they queue for long hours and days under scorching sun or heavy down pours.In fact, some of them have died in the process of getting these benefits, especially the women, our mothers.

Men and women who obeyed the nation's call to serve our father land and worked very hard to mentor and teach the today's leaders.What do they get in return, pain and death.

The system relates the right of the elderly to a huge and insurmountable demand.The government says the children and relatives of the senior citizens are neglecting their old people and failing in their responsibilities.So, does it mean that it is wrong to seek and demand for your right as a citizen?

Could it be that our heroes laboured in vain? No wonder our youths are deciding daily to serve other lands in the Europe and America.No one wants to beg for what is rightfully his/hers.Our seniors are begging but nobody is helping... There is no compassionate fee for bus tickets or commodities in stores .

Or do I make mention of the shabby treatment given to the Nigerian elderly by some foreign establishments in Nigeria .For example, when the old people go for visa application processing , the customer service treatment is not the best at all.What do you expect when your own would not treat you good, the foreigners won't do better I think.

To conclude, I would speak for the elderly and join to beg on behalf of our seniors, that there should at least be an edict that will support the interest of the senior citizens in Nigeria.That will be a beautiful and memorable 50th anniversary gift to our compatriots.The young shall also grow .

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