Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

Former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, has lamented the rising cases of cancer in the country, revealing that he recently lost a loved one to the dreaded ailment.

The presidential aspirant under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also expressed commitment to partner the Henry Seriake Dickson Foundation on cancer advocacy and conduct research on the increase of the terminal disease in the country, especially in the Niger Delta.

Atiku who spoke shortly after a condolence visit to the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, on the death of the governor’s mother, Gold Coast, in his country home in Toru-Orua, said he lost his sister-in-law to the disease.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Affairs, Daniel Alabrah, said Atiku described the initiative to establish a cancer centre as laudable, saying it would help cancer patients in early detection is critical.

“The cancer centre is an extremely commendable initiative. I assure the governor that I will also join him in this cancer centre development because at the same time that he lost his mother, I also lost my sister in-law to cancer. So you can see that cancer has become very common in Nigeria.

“We will definitely want to see that the cancer centre conducts research into why we have more cancer patients now than before and what we can do to prevent it. You know the best way to treat cancer is to see how we can prevent it by detecting it in time. And I want to be part of that initiative.”

Atiku also gave kudos to the governor for his development efforts in the state in the areas of project execution, which he said would transform Bayelsa State into one of the modern states in the country.

“I was recently in Yenagoa. I went round the projects executed and I publicly commended him for what he has done. If he continues, Bayelsa in a very short time is going to be one of the most developed states in the country.

“ He is modernising the state by introducing technology, which is going to spur more developments than anything else,” Atiku said.

Dickson, in his remarks, drew the attention of the federal government to the looming health emergency in the Niger Delta, arising from over five decades of crude oil exploitation by oil companies in the region.

He called for urgent measures to address the health challenge, noting that on the part of the state government, it had set up world class health facilities such as the diagnostic centre.