Scores of elderly persons – particularly septuagenarians and octogenarians – thronged the Lagos Island Local Government Secretariat, Lagos State, to collect stipends and foodstuffs provided by the council last Thursday.
Elderly people appealed passionately to the government, particularly the Federal Government to look into the plight of the elderly.
The main question was the appearance of institution of social security scheme for the elderly to enable them to age gracefully.
Among the beneficiaries at the bi-monthly poverty alleviation programme for the aged in the council were 88-year-old Rafiu Ajakaiye and 80-year-old Salau Amudah.
Ajakaiye, a local government pensioner, said such a scheme was necessary to assist elderly people who had no means of survival to live long.
He said, “There are some old people who do not have anything to depend on. It is proper for the government to support them as it is done in advanced countries.
“The government should institute social security scheme for the aged in the country. As for me, I am fortunate that I have children who are well off and during the time I was working, I had some investments which I depend on now. Not every elderly person has such privilege.”
On how he feels as an octogenarian, Ajakaiye said, “I thank God for giving me good health and for making me have understanding children. I also thank the Lagos Island LG for deeming it necessary to help the elderly. I wish other LGs in the country would emulate this gesture.”
Amudah spoke in similar vein, urging the government to design a scheme to ameliorate the sufferings of the elderly in the country.
He said, “Government should not treat elderly people with disdain. Those in government should know that one day, they will also grow old. They should design a scheme to assist the elderly in the society.
“I am not speaking for myself; I know there are many old people today that cannot feed themselves. Some retirees are not paid their pensions as and when due. Many elderly people have died while queuing for their pension.”
The Chairman, Mr. Wasiu-Sanni Eshilokun, provided cash and foodstuffs to no fewer than 200 elderly persons in the council.
He said, “I want to place on record that 200 beneficiaries of this programme are drawn from various communities and religious groups within this LG.
“This administration will continue to cater for the aged. We shall continue to carry out laudable programmes to meet yearnings of our people.”