UNST holds memorial for Dr.Babatunde Osotimehin

Gloria Essien, Abuja

The United Nations System in Nigeria has held a memorial for late Executive Director of the United Nations Populaation Fund, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin.

The solemn occasion brought top UN officials, Nigerian government functionaries, members of the diplomatic corps, academics, friends and family together to pay their respect and extol the virtues of Prof. Osotimehin.

Speaking at the memorial, the Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said Late United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA Executive Director Professor Babatunde Osotimehin’s contributions to the healthcare sector in Nigeria and world would be greatly missed.

He said the late Osotimehin contributions impacted positively on the lives on women, children and less privileged in the country.

“We take solace in saying publicly that those worthy legacies would live forever”.

The Minister added that the country would miss his selfless service to humanity and wish his family fortitude to bear the great lost.

The Nigerian minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Geoffrey Onyema, in his message, said that any nation of the world would be proud to have produced Prof. Osotimehin.

” We thank God for giving Prof the opportunity to serve the world and humanity. It also was under his stewardship that medical institutions in Nigeria were obliged to observe law which required them to treat accident and gunshot victims without any other consideration. indeed, he was in the forefront of the governments’ drive to eradicate polio from affected areas in Nigeria,” he said.

He added that Osotimehin has held various posts which provided him the opportunity to serve.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Edwin Kallon, said that Prof. Osotimehin worked to end violence against women.

He noted that one of the halls at the UN building in Abuja has been named after the late Executive Director of UNFPA.

The Dean of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria, Mr. Salahadeen Abbas Ibrahima, said that Africa has lost a great African.

” Prof. Osotimehin was one of the towering  figures that stood in the troubled waters of human health. A strong advocate for reproductive health and reproductive rights. A humbled and religious person,” he said.

He added that through his works, he lives on the minds of people from far and near.

The Country Representative of UNFPA, Diene Keita, said that as a boss, Prof. touched the lives of everyone he worked with.

She said that the UNFPA would continue with the good work of the late Executive Director.

During his life time, Prof. Osotimehin was passionate about women and young people, particularly girls.

Speaking on behalf of the young people, Miss Fatima Gabi, said that young people all over the world have lost an advocate.

During his exhortation, Venerable Benjamin Idume, urged all and sundry to always live a life worthy of emulation.

He said that the diseased lived a meaningful life that touched even people he did not know.

“He always sees himself as a young person. He encouraged a lot of young people during his days and he was very religious too, not minding his position in the society,” Idume said.

Prof Osotimehin died in America on the 4th of June 2017