The O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation made it a unique, enjoyable and memorable Valentine’s Day for over 40 senior citizens in Rivers State by organising its annual party to mark the universal day of love.
The party at the purpose-built Biokpo Recreational Centre in Abonnema, Rivers State, featured singing, dancing and merriment with the elderly expressing their joy for the love and care showered on them continuously by the NGO’s Care for Life programme.
Chairman of the O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation, Dr Seinye O.B. Lulu-Briggs, said the party was in fulfilment of the Foundation’s commitment to the well-being of older people.
“The elderly deserve our love and affection always, and we are happy that God uses us to take care of their health, economic, social and spiritual well-being on a daily basis. God loves us and has shown us uncommon kindness as an organisation, so we are also showing love to these elders. The Valentine’s Day party is one annual event we organize for them to celebrate milestones and testify to God’s love in our lives. May the love of God continue to shine in all our lives,” she said.
Dr Lulu-Briggs enjoined other individuals and organisations to borrow a leaf from the OB Lulu-Briggs Foundation and see to the care of the elderly, who are among the most vulnerable in Nigerian society.
“While it is an integral part of the culture in Nigeria and, indeed, Africa to revere, honour and look after our elders, the widespread poverty and the harsh social and economic environment has made it difficult for families and communities to uphold this tradition. The truth is that with the myriad of problems we face post-Covid, elder care is not a priority, and our seniors are among the most vulnerable to poverty and disease at the community level.
“Indeed, ageism, neglect and violence against elders are very real. For over 21 years, we have cared for over 600 senior Nigerians who have no or minimal family support by taking on full responsibility for their well-being. Ensuring that they socialize and remain active through daily activities and occasional parties like today’s is an essential part of healthy ageing, which we take very seriously. We should all unite to ensure that our elders are lovingly cared for. They are a blessing and an integral part of our communities which we should continue to treasure.”
Two elders at the party, Pa Kingdom Miller and Mama Florence West expressed gratitude to the O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation for taking care of their upkeep despite the economic crunch being experienced in the country.
Pa Miller said, “I pray God continues to bless Seinye Lulu-Briggs, for remembering us all the time. I have been with her from the beginning (2001), and God has graciously granted me long life. I pray God gives her long life, too, as she helps old people.”
Mama West said, “We are happy to see today’s Valentine’s Day party, and we know we will be here celebrating next year by God’s grace. We thank Seinye Lulu-Briggs and her team for the love and care.”
Through the Care for Life Program, the Foundation takes care of the health, economic and social well-being of vulnerable elderly people in Rivers State. It covers all their medical costs, provides caregivers to look after them, and gives them food, household supplies and a monthly cash allowance. The Foundation’s other programs are Free Medical Mission, Access to Clean Water and Sanitation, Education and Scholarships, and Microcredit and Entrepreneurship.