By G9ija

The National Senior Citizens Centre (NSCC) says the Federal Government’s Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030 will further transform Nigeria into a leading nation of the world.

Omini Oden,Head, Public Affairs, Media and Communications of the centre, said this in a statement on Thursday, in Abuja in commemoration of the 2021 International Day of Older Persons.

The day with the theme: “Digital Equity for All Ages” affirms the need for access and meaningful participation in the digital world by older persons.

He quoted the Director General of NSCC, Dr Emem Omokaro, to have commended President Muhammadu Buhari, on inclusive digital economy policy and strategy.

“October 1st is celebrated as International Day of Older Persons and NSCC acknowledges Senior Citizens in Nigeria, as an invaluable resource-base and positive force for national development across sectors of the nation’s economy.

“Nigeria is embracing a comprehensive vision that protects human rights of older persons, which entails universal access to services, digital technology Eco-system for active equal participation in governance and economic growth opportunities.

“The establishment of an inclusive Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030 vision by President Buhari will help to transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy that will provide quality life for all.

“It will also help to build a nation where digital innovation and entrepreneurship will be deployed to create value for all.”

He further quoted Omokaro, as saying that the eight strategic pillars of the policy aligned with the Centre’s Act 2017 and strategic objectives of the national policy on ageing.

Also were, digital literacy, enhanced capacities of senior citizens, creation of innovative income initiatives and work schemes, health, sports, recreation, as well as building a database for senior citizens in Nigeria.

“Digital technologies which will continue to liberate face-to-face interactions and create on-line sources as platforms for transactions and social connections in all aspects of life should be universally accessed.

“These include e-health care-doctors on call; e-commerce, online shopping, online banking, online working, help-call lines; e-learning, e-conferences, vital registration portals among others with unfettered transformative impact.

“Globally, without deliberate policy and legal frameworks to ensure inclusive multi-networks anchored on equity, vulnerable older persons in rural and remote locations would be left behind in all aspects of life.

“COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown exposed the impact of the digital divide, especially as it affects older persons, leading to increasing isolation, loneliness, limited access to services, depression and abuse,”Omokaro added.

She, however, stressed the need for measures to be put in place to create sustainable opportunities for digital literacy and skills for older persons, to navigate emerging digital environments without barriers.

The UN General Assembly had on Dec. 14, 1990 designated October 1, yearly to celebrate the International Day of Older Persons.