President Muhammadu Buhari says he has fulfilled his pledge to rid Nigeria of the indigenous wild poliovirus.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organisation declared Nigeria and the rest of Africa polio-free via an online event across the continent and beyond.
Speaking at the event, Buhari said he promised Nigerians that he would not hand over a Nigeria with polio to his successor, and has fulfilled that promise.
“This is indeed a truly historic event. I recall shortly after assuming office in 2015, I made a pledge to Nigerians that I would not bequeath a polio-endemic country to my successor,” Buhari said
“This certification is, therefore, a personal fulfillment of that pledge, not only to Nigerians but to all Africans.”
Buhari congratulated the entire continent and the African Union leadership for crossing the finish line.
“At a time when the global community is battling with the COVID-19 pandemic, this achievement strengthens my conviction that the requisite political will, investments, and strategies, as well as citizens’ commitment, will flatten the pandemic curve.
“I can affirm the commitment of all African leaders in this course of action. We must guard this achievement jealously and ensure that we take all necessary steps to prevent the resurgence of this deadly disease”.
The president appreciated the strong partnership and collaboration displayed to deliver this success.
He promised the global community that Nigeria will “sustian the momentum and leverage on the lessons learnt from the polio eradication to strengthen our health systems, especially primary healthcare and prioritise health security”.
Present at the event were a longlist of WHO officials; Robert Redfield, director, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rose Leke, chairperson, Africa Regional Certification Commission; Seth Berkley, CEO, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance; and some polio survivors.