… As Nigeria awaits WHO certification as polio free country
Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Businessman Emeka Offor has bolstered the effort towards the eradication of wild polio in Nigeria by donating the sum of $3.5 million to the Rotary Foundation in combating the scourge.
The National Chairman, Nigeria Polio Committee of Rotary International, Dr Abdulrahman Olatunji Funsho, made the revelation during the End Polo Now campaign, where Offor and two artistes, Inetimi Alfred Udom (Timaya) and Chibuzor Azubuike (Phyno), were presented as ambassadors of Rotary International.
Funsho described the $3.5 million received as the largest donation by an individual to Rotary Foundation in the whole of Africa.
He said that since 1998, Rotary had spent over $270 million in curbing the spread of the polio strains that afflict many people with paralysis in Nigeria.
He also stated that the federal government budgeted about $50 million in fighting the virus from mutating last year.
Funsho told reporters that over $50 billion is required over the next 10 years by governments and international donors to completely eradicate the polio scourge all over the world.
He further alluded that since Nigeria has not reported new outbreak of Polio cases since September 2016, the country is awaiting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to later this year classify the country as a polio non- endemic country.
The proposed removal of Nigeria from the list will now leave Afghanistan and Pakistan as the only countries where the polio strains are still active. The two countries accounted for the 32 global cases of the wild virus this year.
Speaking with reporters, Offor said his support for the initiative to rid Nigeria of polio is because of his belief that polio is a disease that no country should allow to gain grounds.
While commending Rotary for creating the awareness on polio, he tasked everybody to get involved and make sure there is no recurrence of the virus in the country again.