Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa expressed shock and profound sadness over the death of Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and a former Minister of Health in Nigeria.
In a statement issued in Abuja by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Osinbajo describes the death of Osotimehin as a great loss.
“On behalf of the people and Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Osinbajo extends heartfelt condolences to his wife, children and entire family over the passage of their beloved father, grandfather and also an illustrious Nigerian.
“The Acting President also commiserates with the staff of the UNFPA and the entire UN system on the demise of a very remarkable international public servant, who served passionately, diligently and worked tirelessly at the global and national stages to reduce maternal mortality and promote universal access to reproductive health.
“The late Osotimehin, who also had a distinguished career as medical doctor and teacher before he served as a cabinet minister in Nigeria, and later at the UN, will be long remembered for his many significant developmental contributions at home and in the international community, according to Acting President Osinbajo.
“As Prof. Osotimehin is being mourned internationally, the Acting President urges the Osotimehin family, friends and associates to take solace knowing that his notable service and worthy contributions especially towards improving women and children’s health across the world are widely acclaimed, deeply appreciated, and would be long remembered and honoured,” he said.
In the same vein, a statement issued in Asaba on Monday by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, Governor Okowa lauded the invaluable contributions of the former Health Minister to the development of the Nigeria health sector.
Governor Okowa noted that Prof Osotimehin, a renowned global public health leader, is globally known for his contributions on sexual and reproductive health, as well as his work on HIV/AIDS when he served as NACA DG.
“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta State, I mourn with the Osotimehin family, UNFPA and NACA over death Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin.
“Prof Babatunde Osotimehin will be remembered for his advocacy on the welfare of pregnant women in Nigeria as well as improving the lives of women and young people by promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights”.
“As UNFPA Executive Director, Prof. Osotimehin led the organization’s efforts on HIV prevention, especially among adolescents and young adults, promoting safe sex and protections and ensuring that women and adolescent girls receive HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health services”.
Governor Okowa further added that “Prof. Osotimehin contributed immensely to Nigeria’s AIDS response as Minister of Health and as the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDS, NACA.
“We have lost a commited health professional and a valued advocate of young people,” the governor said.
Osotimehin, a former Minister of Health between 2008 and 2010 was also head of the committee for the control of AIDS in Nigeria.
He died in New York at the age of 68.