At a time when many elderly people in Nigeria continue to lament the poor welfare system in the country, Elias Wahab, a professor of Sociology and dean of faculty of Social Science, Lagos State University, LASU, has urged the government to establish a programme and policy that will ensure monthly stipends are given to Nigerians of 65 years and above. The don made the appeal at the 60th inaugural lecture of Lagos State University on Tuesday, March 28 at the school auditorium. The theme of the event was “Of Growing Old and Dying Well: A Gerontologist At Work.”
Said the professor. [ctt template=”7″ link=”31cH0″ via=”no” ]“Government at all levels should accept the responsibility for the care and support for older persons such as financial assistance in form of monthly stipend.-LASU Don[/ctt] The five thousand naira stipend currently being given by the government is only for unemployed youths, thus neglecting the older persons who are more vulnerable to poverty,” he said. The lecture was attended by members of the academia, teaching and non-teaching staff of the institution.
According to Wahab, studies in recent years have proved that the odds are stacked against old, elderly, senior Nigerian citizens. “It is unfortunate that aging has become a curse rather than a blessing in the modern Nigeria”, he said.
The professor also pointed out a lot of myths about old age, saying Nigerians see old age as a stage of disability. “They believe once you are old you become a liability to the family,” he noted adding that in Japan and China, people, after retirement, are called back because you can’t do away with wisdom and experience. “Old people are fundamental to a developed society. The more Nigeria neglects them, the more underdeveloped we will be,” he said.
Wahab also expressed worry that even the family that is supposed to cater for their aged ones have been weakened, as those that are supposed to take care of them have migrated to the city to look for jobs. “The government has left its own responsibility to the family and the family is already weakened. The old man is for himself. The government needs to begin to cater to people who are 65 years and above regardless of whether they worked in the formal or informal sector,” he advised.