Buhari receives polio champion award
$270m expended to end disease in Nigeria, says Rotary
President Muhammadu Buhari was yesterday conferred with the prestigious polio champion award in recognition of his commitment and leadership role in the polio eradication programme in Nigeria.
A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said Rotary International President, Mr. Barry Rassin, who is on a four-day official visit to Nigeria, presented the award to Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
Buhari, while receiving the award, thanked Rotary International for the honour and lauded their commitment to humanitarian work across the globe.
He said: “Rotary International is well-known to my generation. Your work is really humanitarian; no amount of materialism can pay you for what you have been doing and we thank you very much.
“I am pleased with the efforts of Rotary International, you are champions of the weak, and I pray that God will abundantly pay you for your humanitarian services. I am also pleased that I have a competent health minister who supervises the work.”
Rassin, while commending Buhari for providing significant leadership in the efforts to eradicate polio in Nigeria, advocated for increased political and financial commitments at all levels for routine immunization and primary health care strengthening.
He also commended him for his commitment to Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) by expanding the presidential task force on polio to include state governors shortly after he took office in 2015.
‘’You are an inspiration to your country’’, the Rotary president, who was accompanied by his wife, Esther, and other senior Rotarians in Nigeria, said.
He said Rotary had contributed $1.7 billion to the global effort to eradicate polio, of which $270 million was expended in Nigeria.
‘We have come a long way from 1985 when polio was crippling 350,000 children yearly in 125 countries of the world to 27 cases in two countries. But even one child paralysed by polio is one child too many. We need to end polio now,’’ Rassin said.