By Okon Bassey
Akwa Ibom State Government has expressed concern over the rising ‘elderly-witch’ syndrome in the society, with the aged abandoned and tagged witches by the younger generation.
The state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, who made the observation, strongly condemned the dubious act of some unscrupulous members of the society dubbing the elderly as witches, thereby denying them the welfare and care they rightly deserve.
He said: “It is disheartening to see some children dub their aged parents as witches. The same parents who took care of them all through their youthful age are now called witches by their children.”
Emmanuel spoke as a Special Guest of Honour at the birthday thanksgiving and books presentation by a senior citizen of the state and celebrant, Mkpisong Ememobong Essien, who celebrated his 80th birthday.
The governor wondered why those elderly persons were not witches when they were suffering to cater for the children, but suddenly became witches and wizards when the children should be catering for them.
Represented by his deputy, Mr. Moses Ekpo, the governor chided the ill-will children and youngsters, who have failed in their responsibilities to fend for their aged parents and the elderly around them.
He urged members of the society to take a cue from the children of Mkpisong Ememobong Essien, who have proved themselves role models in the care for their aged parents as demonstrated in the luxurious 80th birthday celebration for their father.
He congratulated Essien on his 80th birthday, describing him as one of those strong pillars behind the birth of Akwa Ibom State and the progenitor of the Akwa Ibom Elderly Citizens Assembly, a group that has championed the cause of the elderly in the society.
The celebrant expressed thanks to God for keeping him alive to see his children and grand-children and also exhibited great joy and happiness for the large crowd of friends and the people who turned up to celebrate with him as he marks his 80th birthday.
One of the sons of the celebrant, who is the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong, thanked God for the life of their father, who has been a preacher, counsellor, psychologist, disciplinarian and mentor to so many.
Ememobong said the strict discipline life of their father made them what they are today, and gave a sounding ovation to his father, Essien, as he clocks 80 years, and wished him many fruitful years in good health.